Microsoft has begun killing off its Internet Explorer browser.
From today, the firm will no longer support Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10 on most operating systems. Instead, it will push users towards Windows 10 and Edge, the new browser Microsoft created for the latest version of Windows.
'Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates,' Microsoft said.
'Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
'Internet Explorer 11 offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the web standards that power today’s websites and services. Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.'
Microsoft has revealed over 200 million people are now using its Windows 10 software. The firm says it was 'humbled' by the update - but still aims to have the software on a billion devices. The firm said the software has now surpassed all previous versions for speed of adoption.
A Brief History of IE
Internet Explorer, which was first called Windows Internet Explorer, was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 in 1995. Internet Explorer was one of the most widely used web browsers, attaining a peak of about 95 per cent during 2002 and 2003. However, it struggled in the face of competition, and in May 2012 it was announced that Google's Chrome overtook Internet Explorer as the most used browser worldwide. The brand has struggled to shake off the bad reputation of Internet Explorer 6, which was notoriously insecure. After Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, the browser hit its first real speed bump in its digital life. An alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned users in 2004 that holes in Internet Explorer could lead to their passwords and other personal information falling into the hands of hackers. Microsoft rolled out a fix but security issues continued to grow - causing the firm to eventually decide to kill off the brand.
When it first announced the new browser, then condenamed spartan, Joe Belfiore of Microsoft said: 'It is fast, compatible, and built for the modern Web.
'Project Spartan is designed to work the way you do, with features enabling you to do cool things like write or type on a webpage.
'It's a browser that is made for easy sharing, reading, discovery and getting things done online.'
Edge: The New Internet Explorer
Microsoft has released an entirely new browser to replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10 some of its features include:
Cortana in Edge is a personal assistant that helps make Web browsing easier for you, with whatever you're trying to get done.
Inking and sharing so you can capture and communicate your thoughts: Enables you to write or type directly on the page, comment on what's interesting or clip what you want – then easily share this 'Web Note' via mail, or a social network.
He also admitted the firm would still allow users to install Internet Explorer.
'At the same time, we recognize that for some of our enterprise customers, it’s important they have the support they need and can continue to use Internet Explorer when and where they need it. This is why we will continue to make it easy for our enterprise customers to make Internet Explorer 11 the default browser via group policy. Internet Explorer 11 is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 for all customers, also providing a consistent platform that’s great for enterprise Web apps. Microsoft is hoping Windows 10 will help it rebuild loyalty among users who are increasingly relying on tablets, smartphones and other devices.'
PC sales have been shrinking in recent years and that trend is likely to continue, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. Analysts at IDC predicted that 2016 will mark the fifth consecutive year of declining PC sales worldwide. Computer-makers are hoping to get a boost from consumer interest in Windows 10, which manufacturers are making available on new machines being sold this fall.
But IDC noted in its report that Microsoft is also offering the new software as a free download for people who want to install it on their existing PCs. The free upgrades probably account for the bulk of the 75 million devices now using Windows 10, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, although he said more new models will likely be sold this fall. Windows 10, which is free when upgrading, had been installed on 75m computers by the end of August, accounting for 4.9% of desktop internet users according to data from web analytics firm StatCounter. Windows 7 still held a 48.1% share of global internet users. Some of the machines getting Windows 10 are quite old. Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi said in a Twitter post that, 'even some devices manufactured in 2007 have upgraded to Windows 10. Along with new features, the Redmond, Washington, software giant designed Windows 10 to fix some unpopular elements of Windows 8, the operating system's last version.
How Popular is Windows Explorer
Across desktop PCs as a whole, only 13.4 per cent currently run Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, according to research firm NetMarketshare. By contrast, it says 51.2 per cent are powered by Windows 7 and 23.9 per cent by Windows XP, a version that is no longer supported by Microsoft.
It's intended to work on PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices, although the company released it for PCs and tablets first. Windows 10, the biggest update Microsoft has made to its computer software, finally launched after a massive beta test programme. The start menu in Windows 10 will appear similar to what's found in Windows 7, but tiles opening to the side will resemble what's found in Windows 8. Joe Belfiore, a Microsoft executive who oversees Windows design and evolution, said Windows 10 will offer 'the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the benefits that exist in Windows 8' to help business users make the transition. Belfiore said that the company was going 'back to basics' with Windows 10, and confirmed that the famous Start menu, which was removed from Windows 8, would be returning.
'We're looking to find the balance, so that all the Windows 7 users get a familiar experience on the devices they already have,' he said.
'It gives the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the elements of Windows 8.'
He said that going from Windows 8 to Windows 10 is like going from a Prius to a Tesla.
'They don't have to learn any new way to drive.'
Mr Belfiore also confirmed that Windows 10 would be compatible with both traditional and touch-based device users like tablets through a new task view with buttons scaled up so that they're more friendly to those on touchscreen devices. Users on hybrid devices like the Surface Pro tablet will be able to jump between and keyboard and touchscreen modes, with Microsoft demonstrating how the interface will change as you do. Although the new software won't be formally released until later this year, analysts have already said that its success is crucial for Microsoft and new CEO Satya Nadella.