Microsoft MSFT +0.44%’s transformation into a modern, cross-platform business has one victim: its legacy services. Following news this week that Windows 7 is about to get a lot more expensive, now Microsoft has issued a serious warning about the once all-conquering Internet Explorer web browser…
In a subtle-as-a-brick blog post called ‘The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser’, Microsoft has warned that using Internet Explorer is downright dangerous and the company goes so far as to no longer even describe it as a web browser.
Declaring “Enough is enough” in bold letters, the Microsoft says Internet Explorer is now merely “a compatibility solution” rather than web browser. The company also warns IE users that “We’re not supporting new web standards for it” and they must move to “modern browsers”.
While the warnings are stark, they are right. You shouldn’t be using Internet Explorer in 2019. But the picture is not quite a simple as Microsoft would like you to believe.
Internet Explorer still commands the second largest market share among web browsers (over 10%), which is more than Opera, Safari and Edge (Microsoft’s IE successor) combined. That’s a lot of people now being told they are in “peril”. And it is partly Microsoft’s fault this number still exist.
The big mistake came from Microsoft’s attempt to force users to Windows 10 by not releasing Edge on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows XP. With those three operating systems still commanding almost a 50% market share four years after Windows 10 was released, Microsoft ultimately dug a premature grave for Edge rather than putting Internet Explorer out of its misery as anticipated.
Interestingly, Microsoft didn’t mention Edge once during its rant against IE and for good reason. Edge itself will now be replaced by a browser Microsoft will build based on Chromium – the core for Google Chrome.
Now let’s be clear: looking forward is good. Microsoft has been reinvigorated itself by moving away from the Ballmer era’s over-reliance on shifting copies of Windows and Microsoft Office. But this new, slick Microsoft needs to remember it has an obligation to coax users of older services to modern products by doing more than scaring them…