As of Tuesday January 12th 2016, Microsoft no longer offers support for older versions of its Internet Explorer web browser – only the most recent version available on any given operating system will receive software patches, security updates and so on.

This effectively means that the vast majority of computer owners should update to Internet Explorer 11 if they have not done so already, while in future the company’s new Edge browser will ship with new operating systems, heralding the end of the road for Internet Explorer as a browser at all.

Microsoft said: “Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

“Internet Explorer 11 offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the web standards that power today’s websites and services.”

For companies with an online presence, this should be welcomed as good news – it means fewer legacy browsers will be in use, particularly among businesses where essential security upgrades are more likely to be applied when they become necessary in this way.

It also means the old “Designed for Internet Explorer” badge seen on websites in the early days of the web should be a thing of the past – and as Edge takes over, along with other modern browsers like Google’s Chrome, fully responsive cross-platform web design should become the norm too.

This is already the case for most modern website design, and has implications for search engine rankings too, as Google will give priority to mobile-friendly websites in its search results, when a query is conducted on a portable device.

Significantly, this development does not change the ‘best practice’ of building websites for modern browsers and with mobile access in mind; however, it reduces the need to cater for legacy browsers at the same time.

As a result, it should be more possible than ever to build a truly modern website, without the need to fall back on older CSS methods for visitors who have simply not updated their web browser – allowing the best methods of the modern internet to be integrated into sites for desktop and mobile visitors alike.

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