When it comes to supporting web browsers, most companies have made the decision to only support the most recent version of it and maybe in addition to that an extended support release version.
Microsoft on the other hand has not done so up until now. This means that all four major versions of Internet Explorer available for Windows 7 are supported by the company.
The operating system shipped with Internet Explorer 8 back in 2009 and users of it can install IE9, IE10 or IE11 on it as well either via automatic updates or manually.
According to Microsoft's announcement on the official IE blog, things are going to change soon for customers running supported Windows client and server systems.
Starting January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer for each operating system continues to be supported by the company.
This means that the following systems are supported as of now:
|Windows Platform||Internet Explorer Version|
|Windows Vista SP2||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows Server 2008 SP2||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows 7 SP1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows 8.1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2012||Internet Explorer 10|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||Internet Explorer 11|
Since we are more than a year away from that date, supported versions may change if Microsoft releases a new version of the browser in the meantime.
Considering its only "for current and last system" system stance, this would most likely only affect Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 and not other versions of the operating system.
According to Microsoft, installing and using the latest version of Internet Explorer benefits users in several ways. This includes improved security as new versions of the browser ship with additional protection against web threats, productivity in the form of better support for web standards, and better compatibility with newer versions of Windows and Windows powered devices.
Customers who don't upgrade to the latest available version of Internet Explorer by January 12, 2016 won't receive security updates or technical support anymore.
Microsoft is aware that older versions of the browser are used in business and enterprise for compatibility purposes. The company will offer migration resources and new tools such as the new Enterprise Mode of Internet Explorer 11 to help companies migrate to the latest version of the browser.
Microsoft has announced the move more than 16 months in advance, enough time for many companies to prepare their infrastructure for the inevitable.
By that time, Windows 9 will have been released by Microsoft giving companies an option to upgrade to the latest operating system.
The move makes sense from a security and web standards compatibility standpoint. Companies who rely on older versions of Internet Explorer, for instance version 6, to run applications in company networks may not want to upgrade to a newer version as it means additional expenses for them to make sure the apps run like before in newer versions of the browser.
Now You: What's your take on the decision? Will it force companies to upgrade to newer versions of Windows and Internet Explorer, or will it lead to companies leaving the Windows ecosystem completely?