Microsoft is pulling the plug on Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 next Tuesday

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Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 next week on January 12th, releasing a final patch encouraging users to upgrade to one of the company's more recent browsers. The end of support means that these older versions of Internet Explorer will no longer receive security updates or technical support, making anyone who uses them much more vulnerable to hackers. A recently-announced patch will deliver the last few bug fixes, as well as an "End of Life" notification telling users to upgrade to IE 11 or Microsoft Edge — the company's successor to Internet Explorer, built for Windows 10.

This move has a been a long time coming, with Microsoft announcing the end of support for IE 8, 9, and 10 back in August 2014. And in March last year, the company relegated IE to "legacy" status, meaning that the browser will be kept around mostly for the sake of enterprise compatibility. Despite this, though, there are still thought to be several hundred million users using soon-to-be-obsolete versions of Internet Explorer. Those users are about to become a security risk, so Microsoft must be hoping that its "End of Life" warning encourages at least few million to upgrade. Then again, they might just switch to another browser altogether.

IE loses stranglehold on the enterprise as Chrome makes major inroads

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Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) is about to lose the one market it's had locked up for decades: the enterprise.

According to research firm Gartner, enterprise usage of Chrome will surpass that of IE by the end of this year. In 2016, Google's browser will dominate corporations, with about two-thirds of enterprise users running Chrome as their primary browser.

That prediction flies in the face of longtime assumptions that even as consumers deserted IE for alternatives like Apple's Safari, Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox, IE remained an unassailable fortress in business, where Windows rules and entrenched line-of-business Web apps demand IE.

"Enterprises had to stick on IE8 because Microsoft supported only one version of IE on a system," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver in an interview, referring to business reliance on the older edition for intranet browsing and running aged apps. "They couldn't get IE11, which forced them into putting another modern browser on devices."

Increasingly, that other browser has been Chrome.

Gartner estimated that by year's end, Google will be the No. 1 primary browser in corporations, edging IE by a few percentage points. Next year, Chrome's enterprise usage will surge from 43% to 65%, while IE's will plummet from 47% to 28%.

That's a sea change.

But Microsoft's fighting back with Edge, an overhaul of IE that will ship as the default browser in Windows 10. Repeatedly dubbed a "modern browser" by Microsoft, Edge can run alongside IE11 on the same device, a first for Microsoft. In a recently published report for clients, Silver and his Gartner colleague David Smith said Edge was Microsoft's answer to the "realization of the market of today."

"Microsoft needs a second browser for those who need both a modern and legacy browser on the same device," Silver and Smith wrote of the Redmond, Wash., company's revamped browser strategy.

While Edge will play the part of the "modern" side of the equation -- Microsoft's answer to Chrome's infiltration of the enterprise -- IE11, which will also be included with Windows 10, will play the "legacy" character.

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