It’s official: Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s once-prevalent web browser, is going the way of the AOL install CD. Unlike all of those AOL install discs (which were apparently pretty costly), we can’t use our discarded IE versions as coasters. After a long and (mostly) happy life, IE 8, 9, and 10 will die on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.
A post on the Microsoft website explains that “support for older versions of Internet Explorer ends on January 12, 2016.” The article further delves into exactly what “end of support” means (read: being put out of its misery), next steps, and offers a Windows lifecycle FAQ. A rather ominously named “End of Life” upgrade notification will kindly remind those still using Internet Explorer to upgrade to a different browser. That doesn’t really sound much like an upgrade, but rather a permanent downgrade for IE. For more tech savvy folks, Microsoft has included steps for disabling the notification by editing registry entries.
Web developers particularly will appreciate this IE purge as it means less hassle in ensuring support for outdated browsers. Internet Explorer severely lagged behind every modern browser. It was slow, buggy, and often newer CSS didn’t really load properly. Web developers' journey accounting for IE has been, well, hellish. Yet while everyone, devs in particular, cheer at the death of IE 8, 9, and 10, it’s important to recall that Internet Explorer once reigned supreme in the browser realm. A 2010 article on BBC.com revealed that IE was down to less than 60% of the browser market. However, in 2003, IE boasted a whopping 95% of the market. Yep, 95%, you read that correctly.
Microsoft will continue to support IE11, as well as its Edge browser. It’s the end of an era for Internet Explorer, though let’s be honest: the death of IE came long before now when it failed to keep up with modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox. How many of you are even reading this in Internet Explorer? Hopefully when we remember IE, it’s with fondness. Let’s recall the progressive days of Internet Explorer, before it transformed into the lumbering hot mess it became in old age. RIP.