Microsoft Unplugs the Internet Explorer and Windows 8, Long after the World Did

Beginning today, January 12, 2016, Microsoft is essentially killing all versions of its flagship browser Internet Explorer, bar its latest version, IE 11. The browser isn’t the only product being cut off from Microsoft support and development. Windows 8 is also seeing a similar fate.

It has been a long time coming. While the world has predominantly adopted browsers such as Google’s Chrome, software giant Microsoft is finally cutting off ties from legacy versions of Internet Explorer that includes Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10.

The announcement was made last year in a blog post by Microsoft. It read:

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. 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.

Claiming increased security and better performance compared to its earlier versions, Microsoft is making a marked effort in pushing users to adopt Internet Explorer 11.

For those diehards who are sticking to Internet Explorer rather than jumping ship to Chrome or Firefox, a new patch – KB3123303, titled ‘The new “End of Life” upgrade notification for Internet Explorer’ will be force-fed to users’ computers as a part of Windows’ update.

NetMarketShare Browser

As the chart from NetMarketShare shows, over 20% of the world’s internet users will, from this day onwards, use a web browser that is completely outdated, void of support and development and vulnerable to exploits. That’s an alarmingly high number of users, in the millions.

For a company that is still delivering the world’s most used operating system, Microsoft has been found severely lacking in the browser department. The Redmond-based giant has also blotched the opportunity to push end-users into adopting Microsoft’s new revamped browser – Edge, rather than Internet Explorer 11.

Microsoft Edge comes bundled with the Windows 10 operating system to completely replace Internet Explorer altogether. The Edge browser –while a major improvement on a severely lacking Internet Explorer – is still void of extensions and add-ons, a fundamental need for even casual users who install ad-block extensions these days.

Windows 8 Also Falls by the Wayside

When Windows 8 launched, it had a tough act following what is arguably Microsoft’s most-loved operating system since the days of Windows XP, in Windows 7. Suffice to say, Windows 8 failed to live up to expectations.

NetMarketShare OS

While Windows 8 was predominantly discarded as soon as Microsoft came out with the much-welcomed Windows 8.1, a small percentage of users still use Windows 8, at just under 3 percent of the world’s total OS share.

These users will need to download and apply the free Windows 8.1 service pack, which subsequently gives users the option to upgrade to Windows 10. While the two browsers come with their flaws, they are a substantial improvement from Windows 8.

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update is available here, while those who seek to upgrade to Windows 10 can find help here.

Featured image from Shutterstock. Charts from NetMarketShare.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.