Internet Explorer Screenshot

Is Internet Explorer (IE) a browser? It’s never a question I have asked myself. I mean, it just is right? Well, no, not according to Microsoft. Despite IE definitely being a browser (the dominant one) for over a decade, the company now says it is no longer a browser. As such, users should stop treating it like one.

Chris Jackson, Microsoft’s worldwide lead for cybersecurity, says the role of internet explorer has changed. In a modern era of Microsoft Edge, IE is something of a relic from another age. And that’s fine as Jackson says the, ahem, browser is now more of a “compatibility solutions”. It is for enterprise users who are managing legacy sites that need to be updated for modern browsing.

Jackson says organizations and normal users should not be using IE for web traffic. He says companies paying for support for legacy software are taking on “technical debt”.

“You see, Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution,” says Jackson in the blog. “We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers. 

“So, if we continued our previous approach, you would end up in a scenario where, by optimizing for the things you have, you end up not being able to use new apps as they come out. As new apps are coming out with greater frequency, what we want to help you do is avoid having to miss out on a progressively larger portion of the web.”

Where to Go

The security expert details his argument in a new blog post titled “The Perils of Using Internet Explorer as Your Default Browser”.

It is worth noting Jackson simply says users should avoid IE, he does not say to which service they go. In other words, this is not a plug for Edge and indeed the soon-to-be Chromium-based browser is not mentioned. Neither are Firefox or Chrome for that matter.

“I’m not here to enforce any browser on anyone. Windows gives you a choice in your browser, and you should choose the one that best meets your needs,” he says in reply to a comment.