Users of Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Internet Explorer are about to receive a bigger push to upgrade to the latest version of the Windows flagship web browser. The Redmond, Washington tech giant announced on Thursday that it would begin phasing out support for older versions of Internet Explorer.
Only the most recent versions of Internet Explorer for supported operating systems will receive technical support and security updates starting January 12, 2016, according to Microsoft. For example, customers using Windows Vista will only receive security updates if they are running Internet Explorer 9. But those running Windows 7 or higher will be required to have Internet Explorer 11 installed. Windows Server 2012 will only support Internet Explorer 10.
This change is likely to affect a wide range of Microsoft customers that continue to use Internet Explorer as their primary browser. As of July, Internet Explorer 8 continues to hold 21 percent of the global web browser market share, according to Net Applications.
Microsoft hopes that the update requirements will reduce version fragmentation among Internet Explorer users and make it easier for web developers to create web apps and websites. For the home user, updating to the latest version of Internet Explorer will be less of an issue. But, corporations that still depend on the browser may run into some problems since internal applications have often been developed using an older version of Internet Explorer.
To mitigate this issue, Microsoft suggests corporate customers use Internet Explorer 11’s Enterprise mode, which emulates the older Internet Explorer 8.
This doesn’t mean Microsoft will prevent continued use of the older browsers, but not updating will prevent businesses and customers from receiving additional technical support or browser security updates from the company.