As part of the sunsetting process that will spell the end of Internet Explorer’s 25-year history, various Microsoft applications will begin to withdraw compatibility. The process is designed to facilitate a smooth transition away from IE and encourage users to migrate to the company’s new flagship, Edge.
According to a Microsoft blog post, the Teams collaboration suite will be the first to drop the outmoded browser, on December 1. By August 17 2021, meanwhile, all remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will have followed suit.
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After the relevant end of support date has passed, users of Microsoft 365 apps will suffer a “degraded experience” or will be outright unable to connect to the service via Internet Explorer, Microsoft confirmed.
Microsoft Teams on Internet Explorer
You might think this change will only affect a small minority, because very few people still use Internet Explorer to access the internet and web-based applications - but you’d only be partially correct.
According to Statcounter data, Internet Explorer is the browser of choice for only 1.05% of web users, down from 95% at its peak. However, given that estimates suggest more than 7 billion internet-connected devices are in circulation worldwide, this small percentage still represents millions of users.
The move to retire the cult browser (despite its inexplicably loyal following) can be seen as an admission of its growing irrelevance in modern contexts, as well as an attempt to preserve the quality of experience for users of the company’s other apps and services.
“Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today. Since then, open web standards and newer browsers - like the new Microsoft Edge - have enabled better, more innovative online experiences,” said Microsoft.
“We believe that Microsoft 365 subscribers, in both consumer and commercial contexts, will be well served with this change through faster and more responsive web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets like Outlook, Teams, Sharepoint and more.”
The simplest solution for users inconvenienced by the withdrawal of support is to download the Teams desktop client, available for Windows, macOS, Linux and more. Alternatively, the web client remains operational via most popular browsers.
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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.