MICROSOFT HAS STARTED a countdown that will see all older versions of its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser reach end of life on 12 January 2016.
According to the Internet Explorer blog, this means that from the beginning of 2016 "only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates".
This means that Windows Vista users will be required to use IE9, Windows Server 2012 will require IE10 and all other systems including patched versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2012 will require IE11.
Windows Vista will, at this point, be just 15 months from its own end of life date, and given that it already has a tiny proportion of the market, just 3.05 percent compared with Windows 7's dominant 51.22 percent, the news will affect a small number of people.
Microsoft has announced that Enterprise Mode introduced in IE11 will continue to provide a compatibility mode for older websites through the lifecycle of the corresponding operating system, while providing a range of tools to assist website compatibility upgrades and bulk migration in network environments.
Robert Capriotti, Microsoft director or Internet Explorer, explained, "By offering better backward compatibility and resources to help customers upgrade, Microsoft is making it easier than ever before for commercial customers to stay current on the latest version of Internet Explorer.
"In addition to modern Web standards, improved performance, increased security, and greater reliability, migrating to Internet Explorer 11 also helps unlock upgrades to Windows 8.1 Update, services like Office 365, and the latest Windows devices."
The move represents further evidence of Microsoft's attempts to defragment its market, as evidenced by recent reports that it will offer free upgrades to Windows 9 for all Windows users using Windows XP onwards. µ