An important announcement from the Microsoft company came as a bolt from the blue for the Internet Explorer 11 loyalists this August. The company announced ceasing IE 11 support for Microsoft apps and services from June 15, 2022. Instead of IE 11, Microsoft Edge will be the focus of the future browser development for all Microsoft apps and services. However, the decision does not leave the users in the lurch as the company has developed a fool-proof transition strategy with complete guidelines and assistance.
Microsoft Discontinues IE11 Support
In a message centre notification MC278815 on August 17, 2021, Microsoft declared the discontinuation of Internet Explorer 11 compatibility for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 apps and services. The announcement reads: “As of today, August 17, 2021, Microsoft 365 apps and services no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and users may have a degraded experience, or be unable to connect to, those apps and services from IE11. These apps and services will phase out over weeks and months to help ensure a smooth end of support, with each app and service phasing out on independent schedules.”
The IE11 retirement process started on November 30, 2020, when Teams stopped supporting the browser. It will go on to discontinue supporting Azure Virtual Desktop by September 30, 2021. IE 11 remains a Microsoft supported browser till June 15, 2022. After the announcement, IE 11 users can still continue to work with Office 365 but won’t have access to new features or updates. The company also clarifies the ‘Open with Explorer’ and ‘View in File Explorer’ features in IE 11 are still under maintenance; there are no plans for developing these features in the future.
Which Platforms will be Affected
- Internet Explorer 11 desktop application delivered through SAC (Semi-Annual Channel):
- Windows 10 client SKUs (version 20H2 and later)
- Windows 10 IoT (version 20H2 and later)
Which Platforms Shall Remain Unaffected
- Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge
- IE platform (MSHTML/Trident), including WebOC
- IE 11 desktop application on:
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 7 ESU (Extended Security Updates)
- All versions of Windows Server SAC
- All versions of Windows 10 IoT Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
- Windows Server LTSC (all versions)
- Windows 10 client LTSC (all versions
The Alternative: Microsoft Edge
The question is, what is the future alternative for Explorer users after IE 11 becomes incompatible? Eventually, Microsoft will block IE 11 because the user experience is not that great, and several other existing issues which the company has no plans to fix. Instead of focusing on these issues with Internet Explorer, the company plans to develop Edge for the future operation of all Microsoft 365 apps.
The company has worked on developing Edge for the last two years, and the results promise an enhanced user experience. Microsoft has worked on privacy, security, productivity, manageability and ease of browsing. They have transformed Edge into a Chromium open-source browser. The use of WebView2 control by OWA and Teams also supports the view. The Microsoft team also says that the new devices and the upcoming Windows feature updates will come with the latest Microsoft Edge.
This historic decision will have multifarious repercussions on different users. Keeping the after-effects in mind, the company has offered a range of support options to facilitate the transition to Edge. They released a detailed guideline on Edge deployment. If a company has legacy apps and IE 11 site dependence, they can follow Microsoft’s comprehensive step-by-step guide for IE mode configuration with Edge.
For developers, it has been increasingly challenging to support Internet Explorer besides modern browsers. With this announcement, they need to plan their transition as early as possible. There’s no denying that Edge offers a faster and more smooth browning experience than IE 11, which is not supported by many websites now. After June 15, 2022, IE 11 desktop will be disabled on Windows 10, and the users will be redirected to Edge. So transitioning becomes crucial for the end-users as well.
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