Microsoft’s Internet Explorer goes into retirement

(ABC News) — Internet Explorer is dead as we know it.

The ubiquitous browser, which made its debut two decades ago, has been officially put out to pasture to make way for its younger, sexier relative, Microsoft Edge, the star of Windows 10.

Beginning today, Microsoft will no longer support Internet Explorer 8, 9 or 10, marking the end of an era for a browser many people loved to hate. Microsoft forewarned users last week it would cease support for those earlier versions effective today.

The announcement “means you should take action,” Microsoft wrote on its website, explaining that older versions of Internet Explorer could be “exploited by malware” and attacked.

Those who still have fond feelings for Internet Explorer can rejoice. For now, Internet Explorer 11 — the last and final version of the legacy browser — has been spared and will get technical security updates today, Microsoft said.

Internet Explorer came a long way from its infancy, when it rendered basic HTML and grew into adolescence each year with a progressively better interface and user experience.

After Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, the browser hit its first real speed bump in its digital life.

An alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned users in 2004 that holes in Internet Explorer could lead to their passwords and other personal information falling into the hands of hackers.

Microsoft rolled out a fix but security issues continued to snowball, leading to Internet Explorer’s severe image problem.

A successor — Microsoft Edge — was rolled out last year along with a Windows 10 update. The browser boasts a streamlined user experience that rivals Chrome, Firefox and others.

Microsoft Edge packs new features Internet Explorer never had, such as built-in note taking, easy sharing, the ability to work in several windows at once and integration with Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana.

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