“We are announcing that the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is Microsoft Edge.” It is with these words that Microsoft announced on May 19, 2021 the end of its historic browser. An announcement that becomes reality on June 15, 2022 since technical support for Internet Explorer is phased out under Windows 10. In August 2021, Microsoft 365 had already stopped supporting the browser, gradually being abandoned by the company.
However, the few remaining users of Internet Explorer can be reassured: Edge, the other Microsoft browser launched in 2015, will take over. “Microsoft Edge has a built-in Internet Explorer mode”, assured the American firm on its blog at the time of the announcement of the judgment of the browser. An adaptation made necessary by the structuring of many software and business applications: “Many organizations have a surprisingly high number of old technology websites”explained Microsoft at the time, which counted “on average 1,678 legacy apps” In the enterprises.
“It’s a page that turns. It’s one of the great stages of the web”analyzes digital journalist Jérôme Colombain, who compares this to the shutdown of certain Microsoft flagship programs, such as Windows 98. “It’s the end of an era and one of the symbols of the explosion of the internet”confirms Benjamin Vincent, journalist specializing in new technologies and author of the New World column on franceinfo.
But if June 15 is the official Internet Explorer shutdown day, “it doesn’t change much since the browser was already no longer used and replaced by Edge”, underlines Jérôme Colombain, who is also the producer of the Digital World podcast. Indeed, if we look at the figures offered by the Statcounter site, in April 2022 only 0.39% of entries on the web were made from Internet Explorer against 64.34% for Chrome, the giant Google browser. . “There aren’t really any lambda Internet users who still use Internet Explorer because the current web is no longer really compatible with these technologies”, describes Éric Le Bourlout. According to the journalist, only “pointed uses” certain software or applications may cause Internet users to continue to open Internet Explorer.
It must be said that the browser and its creator, Microsoft, have gradually dissuaded users from using it. “Microsoft abandoned it a long time ago”says Éric Le Bourlout. “It was outdated technically and security-wise because it was no longer updated.” According to him, “Microsoft has failed to keep up with technological advances and settled for the bare minimum, completely missing out on some major web milestones”. Same observation on the side of Benjamin Vincent, who points to the failed turn of the smartphone.
“The launch of the iPhone and then of smartphones coincides with the decline of Internet Explorer. This reminds me of the mistake made by record companies who did not see the arrival of MP3 coming.”Benjamin Vincent, journalist specializing in new technologies
Microsoft thus left itself behind and “took a long time before reacting to all this”, deplores Éric Le Bourlout. And therefore did not skimp in 2015, once the observation was made: exit Internet Explorer, hello Edge. From its launch, the new browser was intended to replace its ancestor to start on new bases. But it is struggling for the moment to convince, with only 4.05% of users in April 2022. This official end of Internet Explorer is nonetheless “a failure” for Eric Le Bourlout. Benjamin Vincent confirms: “Microsoft missed the opportunity to maintain leadership.”
If Internet Explorer has therefore been relegated to the bottom of drawers for several years, why does its end seem to us so symbolic? “It was an example of the omnipotence of Microsoft on the Internetanalyzes Jérôme Colombain. They dominated.” And for good reason: after having abandoned the Internet for lack of conviction about its interest, Bill Gates allowed his company to make a sensational entry into the field with the launch of Internet Explorer in 1995.
“The standard was Internet Explorer. It was the all-purpose thing that evolved and worked everywhere.”Jérôme Colombain, journalist and producer of the “Digital World” podcast
It was also a must when installing the Windows suite, Microsoft forcing users to choose their browser. The practice has also earned the company legal proceedings in the United States and a fine in Europe for anti-competitive practice. But the result was here: “At its peak, in 2004, it rose to 95% market share”, thus underline The echoes. In January 2009, the browser still accumulated 64.97% of entries on the net where Google Chrome, the current leader, only posted 1.37%.
All of this has helped make Internet Explorer an internet myth. “Attachment is generational and affective”says Jérôme Colombain. “Many people discovered the web with him”, abounds Éric Le Bourlout. For Benjamin Vincent, the navigator “has a little side of Proust’s madeleine! People over 25 have necessarily surfed at some point thanks to Internet Explorer. We turn the page on a logo and a name that have accompanied us for more than twenty years.”
The symbol is such that some have taken up the browser’s name to make fun of it. Thus, the Twitter account @intrnetexp has fun by relying on current events to bring up old information. “It’s an icon! Everyone knows Internet Explorer, even those who are not very digitally savvy”, assures the creator of the parody account. What was initially just a joke between friends quickly saw the name of the Microsoft browser impose itself:
“It’s still a classic Internet meme: it’s obsolete, nothing works on it, it reminds us of the old CDI computers in colleges where it was the only browser… It’s becoming funny because it’s so badly optimized!”The creator of the Twitter account @intrnetexp
For those nostalgic for the Internet Explorer era, the creator of the account promises to “to mark the hit”. But do not know what will become of the account: “Either we stop there, and it could be a very interesting end, or we use this news to be carried. However, the jokes on Internet Explorer will continue for people who know and the browser will therefore be able to continue to live despite everything.”
Solicited, the Microsoft company did not respond to our interview requests.