Google has announced its intention to discontinue supporting Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). The latest version of Microsoft's browser is Explorer 9.
As of Nov. 15, users of this popular, yet older, version of Microsoft's browser cease to get support, and when using Google will be prompted to update their web browsers.
As Microsoft is scheduled to release its newest browser, Internet 10, for general availability on Oct. 26, this means Google intends to phase IE8 out, per its policy.
The search engine giant made the announcement to discontinue IE8 support on Friday in a blog post:
"As we announced last year, we support the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis," Google wrote. "Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version."
Google noted in its announcement that effective Nov. 15 users accessing from IE8 will receive a message recommending the user do an upgrade.
The company has not said if this discontinuation of support will result in compatibility issues remains to be seen, notes PC Magazine. Users who use various Google products, such as Gmail, Google Apps, Calendar, Google Docs will be impacted, ZDNet pointed out. With its "life support" cut, this could result in some difficulties for IE8 holdouts using the Google products.
PC Magazine had noted IE8 ranks as the second-most-used browser worldwide, and is the latest version that can be run on Windows XP, which still retains a healthy 28.8 percent of the operating system (OS) market. Problem is, Microsoft intends to cut off support for XP on Apr. 8, 2014 (along with Office 2003).
So it looks like the time may be near for Google customers to consider upgrading or changing their browser. Anyone still using XP, a browser upgrade for IE is not possible, and users who want to stick with Microsoft will need an upgrade of Windows OS. Buying a new OS isn't always feasible, so this could be a dilemma for some users.
ZDNet noted, "Who's likely to benefit out of this? Microsoft, of all companies -- Google's main competitor in the outsourced communications space -- by giving a boost to Windows 7 sales, seen by many as safe middle-ground between Windows Vista and the forthcoming game-changing Windows 8."