In an aggressive move to stay in competition with Chrome and Firefox, Microsoft has officially declared Internet Explorer 10 (and older versions) obsolete as of January 12th 2016; and to be succeeded by Internet Explorer 11 and MS Edge. This means that there will be no more support, no more patches and no more compatibility fixes to the outdated older versions of IE.
Before I launch into my own personal analysis of this move, I’d like to point out that if you are an Internet Explorer user, you should make sure that you are running IE 11 or Microsoft Edge (The new replacement for IE) and if not, upgrade immediately. Security holes and back doors were reasonably common news concerning previous versions of IE and, since there won’t be any more patches for older versions, you should get yourself onto IE 11 to avoid falling victim to cyber-attack.
So, what’s going on at Microsoft that is bringing so many changes lately? Although Internet Explorer 11 is now the only supported version of Microsoft’s Internet Browser, there is now Microsoft Edge (Known as ‘Project Spartan’ in its earlier releases). Edge brings users a browser with a more simplistic look and feel to it. In the future, we are likely to see “Internet Explorer” as we know it, discontinued and for Edge to become the only known official MS browser. Interestingly, Microsoft also announced recently that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows as we know it, at least for the foreseeable future.
Instead of redesigning an entire new OS, Microsoft will simply continue to “update” Windows 10 with new features and looks. Either this is a demonstration of extreme confidence from Microsoft about the stability of its most recent OS, or a method to streamline Operating system releases. This method of OS release/updating isn’t exactly revolutionary, however it’s good to know that Microsoft is learning from earlier mistakes, such as Windows ME and Windows Vista.
Us geeks here at ETTE always recommend Google Chrome as a web browser of choice. If Chrome is not your thing, Firefox is the next best. I could easily list dozens of reasons, but rest assured they are based mainly around simplicity, security and customization. We’ve all heard of various news stories about hackers gaining entry to systems through Internet Explorer and Microsoft having to release an emergency security patch, however these stories are few and far between when it comes to Chrome and Firefox.
However, please don’t think that I’m verbally bashing Microsoft here. I’m writing this blog post from a Windows 10 laptop and I own plenty of MS technology (My beloved Xbox, for example). From my perspective, I think the world has been a little too harsh on Microsoft in recent years regarding security flaws. Consider that the 90’s was the decade that Microsoft dominated the IT industry, until suddenly Apple appeared to challenge for the throne. More recently, Google has exploded from a garage-office based search platform, to the enormous enterprise it’s become.
It must be difficult having to adapt to changing market conditions, particularly in an industry that makes huge breakthroughs on a weekly basis; and especially when you’ve been the market leader for so long. Apple’s mission is all about challenging the status quo (i.e. – challenge everything you’ve believed that Microsoft has sold you all these years). And Google goes even further than that. And let’s not forget that Microsoft doesn’t just develop Operating Systems anymore. Some of Microsoft’s greatest hits have been Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Office, Office 365, Exchange Server, MS-DOS and Microsoft Flight Simulator (which actually predates Windows by three years!)
With new competitors challenging every aspect of its market, it’s no wonder that Microsoft has struggled to keep up. And since we all grew up with Microsoft as (pretty much) our only choice in computer software, perhaps we hold it up to unfair expectations.
However, old habits die hard, as they say. I’ve been a Google user for many, many years now. I have an Android phone and I’ve customized my Google Now app so much that Google seems to know me better than I do. In the coming weeks, I will be putting Microsoft Edge through its paces when I get the opportunity. However, for the foreseeable future, I’ll continue to mix and match various apps on my Windows 10 machine.
When I’ve experimented with Microsoft Edge a little more, I’ll post something about my analysis in comparison to Chrome and Firefox. Let’s hope it lives up to the expectation Microsoft has placed on it.