Most versions of Internet Explorer now both naggy and obsolete

Microsoft is tired of you using Windows XP and Vista. They’re also tired of you using older versions of Internet Explorer when you don’t have to. I think they actually hate Internet Explorer altogether, considering they wrote a new browser from scratch for Windows 10.

If you have any doubt how much they just want Internet Explorer to go away, check out this article from our well-funded friends at Engadget. Microsoft has officially stopped supporting any version of Internet Explorer except version 11, and once they stop supporting version 11, it’s the end of the line. If you’re using Windows XP or Windows Vista (and folks, you shouldn’t be, but that’s another story) you’ll have to switch to the latest version of Chrome or Firefox that your OS will support.

Starting today users of older versions of IE will get increasingly hostile and scary nag screens telling them that they must upgrade or risk handing their computer over to malware and other bad stuff. It’s Microsoft’s way of washing their hands of those older versions. You really want to use IE 8? Fine. You’re on your own.

It’s really a sad end to a browser that once had such dominance. Microsoft itself was once so powerful that the government considered breaking it up. Netscape, which was the first mass-market free internet browser, sued Microsoft because Internet Explorer was so successful. There was a point where IE had about 80% market share.

And then… well it’s not that IE was ever really bad but it was slow to conform to web standards and didn’t keep up with security concerns. Internet Explorer 6 was particularly bad at this, and yet many companies stayed with that version far too long since they had mistakenly built web resources that only worked well with that version.

But of course that’s all in the past. The truth is that versions 10 and 11 of the once-popular browser have been harmless if not downright decent. Sure it lacks the plug-in support you’ll find on Chrome or Firefox, but it’s gotten to the point where it does everything it’s supposed to, including automatically update Flash.

But that’s fine. I don’t blame Microsoft for pulling the plug on IE because the brand really makes you think of 1990s browsers with grey menu bars and faux-3D buttons. I don’t blame them for pushing people away from older operating systems either – Windows 7 is now 5 years old and anyone who is still using Vista or Windows XP is doing so on very old hardware anyway. It’s time to move on.