Microsoft is finally doing the right thing… it is killing off it’s old browsers. Now, if we could just get it to kill off Internet Explorer all together! Well, I can dream, can’t I?
Ars Technica – By: Peter Bright – “Microsoft has supported Internet Explorer for an awfully long time. Each new version of Windows comes with a minimum of five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support. That support window covers all bundled and integrated software—including Internet Explorer—and any software updates.
Windows Server 2003, for example, is supported until July 2015. As such, Internet Explorer 6 (bundled with that operating system), Internet Explorer 7 (available as an update for that operating system), and Internet Explorer 8 (likewise, an update) are all supported until July 2015.
But all that is set to change under a new support policy announced today that is scheduled to take effect in about 18 months. Starting January 12, 2016, only the newest version of Internet Explorer for any given version of Windows will be supported. Older versions will cease to receive security fixes and other updates.
Once the new policy takes effect, Windows Vista and Server 2008 users must use Internet Explorer 9, and Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 users must use Internet Explorer 11. Windows Server 2012 users must use Internet Explorer 10, while Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 users must have Internet Explorer 11.
The Windows Server 2012/Internet Explorer 10 pairing is due to Microsoft’s slightly odd handling of the transition from Windows 8 to 8.1, and 2012 to 2012 R2. There is no version of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8. However, for Windows 8, the Windows 8.1 update is essentially a service pack, and this includes Internet Explorer 11. Windows 8 and 8.1 have two years of ‘parallel’ support, during which both receive updates. After that period, the (free) 8.1 update becomes mandatory anyway. The cut-off date for Windows 8.0 is also January 12, 2016.
Windows Server 2012 is the server counterpart to Windows 8 and ships with Internet Explorer 10. However, Windows Server 2012 R2, the counterpart to Windows 8.1, isn’t treated like a service pack and isn’t a free update (except for Software Assurance customers). Instead of two years of parallel support, both Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 are supported all the way through 2023.
Unless Microsoft remedies this somehow (either by treating the server operating system the same way as the desktop operating system, or by releasing the new browser for the older operating system), Internet Explorer 10 will continue to be supported and updated.
Even with this anomaly, the new support policy represents progress. As we note each month, while the majority of Chrome and Firefox users are all using the newest version of those browsers, Internet Explorer has a large user base that’s using old versions. Internet Explorer 8 is currently the most widely used version of the browser.
Microsoft started making Internet Explorer updates automatic with Internet Explorer 9 and made them automatic from day one with Internet Explorer 10. The result was that versions 10 and 11 spread much more quickly than their predecessors. But unlike the competition, the carrot of better performance and standards compliance never had a corresponding stick of non-support.
In 2016 that will finally change, a move that should help push old versions of Internet Explorer off the Internet. As we’ve seen with Windows XP, that change sadly won’t be instant, but any bit of pressure to discourage the use of old browsers can only be a good thing.”