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Microsoft really wants you to stop using Internet Explorer

By Koh Wanzi - on 11 Feb 2019, 11:37am

Microsoft really wants you to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft is hoping that people will finally ditch Internet Explorer and start using a more modern web browser that's presumably Microsoft Edge. 

In a blog post, Microsoft senior cybersecurity architect Chris Jackson acknowledged that many businesses and organizations still stick to Internet Explorer because their sites were originally designed for that browser, and it's simply easier to keep using it. However, Jackson says this is a "deliberate decision to take on some technical debt", which Microsoft clearly thinks is a bad idea. 

Right now, organizations can end up deferring additional costs further down the road when they choose to continue using IE simply because it is the easiest option. For example, if a company had kept using IE since Internet Explorer 6, it would find that it could be stuck with a 1999 implementation of web standards by default if it tried to make a webpage today. 

That's because as IE began to support more standards over the years, Microsoft decided not to just update the mode they called standards mode because of the risk of breaking applications written for an older interpretation of the standards. So while IE8 might add new standards, it also retained IE7 standards, which sites in local intranet zones would then default to. 

Microsoft created an Enterprise Mode for IE back in 2014 in an attempt to limit the total amount of technical debt being built up. To do this, Enterprise Mode pushed users to manually add all the sites that they wanted so that they didn't continue the "chain of debt by default", instead of sticking to a whitelist approach where legacy sites were supported by default. 

However, the best way to keep up is of course to use a modern browser. Furthermore, Microsoft ended support for IE8, 9, and 10 back in 2016. Developers also generally aren't testing for compatibility with IE these days, mostly because few people use it now. So even though it might be easier to just run old apps in IE, users could end up missing out on an increasingly larger portion of the web as new apps come out. 

Source: Microsoft