It has been 25 years since Microsoft launched Internet Explorer, quickly surpassing Netscape to dominate 95% of the market. In 2012 Google Chrome returned the favor by bypassing IE as the world’s dominant browser. Microsoft killed off Internet Explorer for good reason. The browser had lost a tremendous amount of market share over the last few years partly due to its lack of security, but also because of ever increasing rival strength in Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox.
Microsoft hasn’t given up on browser domination, though. Formerly called project Spartan, Microsoft named its new browser for Windows 10 “Edge.” Edge is intended to be a leaner, faster and more secure platform, without the baggage brought on from years of compromise. Microsoft is under increasing pressure since the new browser needs to be able to be ported from desktop to tablet to phone with ease and be able to provide support for touch, type, gestures, voice, and other types of control.
So what is to become of Internet Explorer? Microsoft will continue to allow IE to be installed on Windows 10, similar to the way applications run on Windows today. This way legacy apps that are developed for IE can continue to run. Or so it may seem. Chances are quite good that some apps may cease to run at all on the new deployment of the old IE.
What does this mean for companies today? Now that Microsoft is officially going a different direction with its browsers, the support for IE will be ending. Companies need to learn to adopt other browsers like Chrome and Firefox or at least the new Edge. This may be a challenge for legacy applications built on IE. However, now is the best time for companies to exert pressures to adopt new programs to replace old ones, or to develop support for new browser technologies.
Besides shedding the dependence on IE, companies need to become more aware of mobile browsers, and new browsers that may enter the browser wars. New browsers such as the Bangalore-based Epic browser which is focused on privacy, or Vivaldi, which contains speed dialing and note taking features may also drive even more useful features. Microsoft Edge will need to move quickly in order to establish itself, even to compete against the other browsers that threaten to make it obsolete before it even has a chance to reclaim what IE has lost.
Companies already should be more browser aware when developing their corporate websites. Sites need to be tested on multiple devices, multiple browsers and be created with responsive techniques. Deciding which browser or browsers to deploy across the firm will become a challenge for IT departments. Applications should be selected not only by the features they provide, but the support for standards such as HTML 5 should play a large part of the decision.