Microsoft has announced it will kill off its much-maligned legacy internet browser Internet Explorer close to 27 years after it graced desktop computers in 1995.

From 15 June, the desktop app will be disabled and users will be redirected to Microsoft’s Edge browser instead.

Internet Explorer was the gateway to the internet for people born prior to Generation Z, in an era when Microsoft dominated the tech world, before Google, Facebook and TikTok, and when the browser had to be installed on to computers using a CD-rom.

Microsoft’s market domination came about due to its bundling of the software as part of the Windows operating system. The experience was often sluggish and when faster competition arrived with Mozilla’s Firefox and later Google Chrome, people jumped ship in droves.

Although market-dominant Chrome suffers from the same issues that plagued Internet Explorer, the shift away from the need to support the legacy browser will be a relief for web developers.

I haven’t done any web dev for a very long time, but last time I did, having to support IE6 in a world where Firefox existed was a source of constant frustration. The glory days of IE were 1998, dial-up, first ever experience of the internet, learning to hand-code HTML for fun…

— Cameron Patrick (@camjpatrick) June 15, 2022

In a submission to an Australian competition regulator’s review of the web browser market, Microsoft said its decision to abandon Internet Explorer was largely due to the fact web developers were less likely to make their sites compatible with Internet Explorer.

The submission said that “after years of attempting to address incompatibilities as they arose with different websites – including some of the most popular ones on the Internet” the company eventually decided that continuing to differentiate from Chrome with a unique proprietary web platform “no longer made sense”.

There’s a good chance you haven’t used Internet Explorer in many years – or ever. Microsoft has been nudging people away from it in favour of the Edge browser, which was launched in 2015 and is built on Google’s open-source Chromium.

The company ended support for Internet Explorer in Teams in 2020, and announced plans to stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 in web browsers in Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 in August 2020.

If there is a relic website that still requires Internet Explorer in order to open it, people using the Edge browser will be able to run it in “IE mode”.

Despite the gradual demise of Internet Explorer, it still has strong brand recognition. A Roy Morgan survey commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in September 2021 found the browsers people were most aware of were Chrome (95%), followed by Internet Explorer (85%), Firefox (81%), Apple Safari (80%) and Edge (69%).

The same survey found just 28% of people used Internet Explorer on their computers, compared with 81% who used Chrome – including 73% of Apple users. The main reason people gave for using Internet Explorer was that it was pre-installed on their computer and there was no reason to use another browser.

While the bundled web browser in Windows may have been an advantage to Microsoft in the past, the company said people were now aware of other options, and on desktop PCs, Microsoft Edge has only a 9% marketshare.