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Microsoft shoots to shorten Internet Explorer's long tail

Gregg Keizer | May 29, 2014
Microsoft today spelled out its priorities for Internet Explorer, and at the top of the list is to get users on the latest version possible. That's easier said than done, however.

IE9 and IE10, also superseded by IE11, had shares of 15% and 12%, respectively.

Much of the long tail of — more older editions in use than the newest — is due to its widespread use in business. Enterprises are loath to upgrade browsers. By nature conservative, corporations resist change of any kind, which costs time and money. And in many cases, they simply cannot switch browsers, or not nearly as easily as do consumers, because their internal websites and Web-based apps are tied to specific versions of IE.

As George pointed out, Microsoft has tried other tricks to coax customers into upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer. IE11's Enterprise Mode, a new compatibility feature introduced in early April for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, lets companies instruct the browser to mimic IE8 for legacy websites and Web apps.

Even Enterprise Mode, however, hasn't dimmed the appeal of older editions: IE11's share increase for April was the smallest since its 2013 debut.

Bottom line: Microsoft's goal of keeping customers current needs more work before the company can scratch that off its to-do list.

Of the four biggest browsers, Internet Explorer has the smallest portion of its users — just 29% — on the latest version. (Net Applications.)


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