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The New Microsoft Edge Browser Will Have an ‘IE Mode’

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Microsoft used to dominate the browser space, but then upstarts like Firefox and Chrome left it in the dust. Microsoft’s response was to retire Internet Explorer and move to Edge with the release of Windows 10. However, Edge didn’t return Microsoft to its glory days. Now, the company is working on a new version of Edge based on Chromium, and it’s going to have a surprising feature: Internet Explorer tabs.

Internet Explorer 11 is the most recent version of Microsoft’s classic browser. It’s even bundled with Windows 10, believe it or not. While Microsoft pushes Edge as its browser of choice, you can launch Internet Explorer by typing it into the Start menu search or by digging around in the Windows Accessories folder. You won’t have to do that when the new Edge rolls out “IE Mode.”

There are still some sites and services that work better on IE because Microsoft spent so many years pushing web developers to use it. You won’t need to open IE to get those benefits with IE Mode. Edge will open Internet Explorer as a tab in IE Mode. Everything within that tab will render using the classic IE engine, but you get the benefits of using a faster, more secure browser. That’s good for everyone.

The other angle is much more in Microsoft’s interest. There are still more people using Internet Explorer than Edge — 7.7 percent versus 4.49 percent of the total market. If Microsoft can get current IE users to use Edge, even with IE Mode, it could get its market share back over 10 percent. That could put Microsoft ahead of Firefox, which hovers around 10 percent of the market.

In addition to IE Mode, the company confirms it’s working on a new three-tiered security model. You can pick between Unrestricted, Balanced, and Strict in Edge. Each one comes with preset options for cookies, third-party services, and more. Then there are Collections, which are essentially bookmark folders with Office integration. That means you can keep a group of links with notes on those links, all of which are sharable and exportable.

Currently, Microsoft is working on the big Chromium-based revamp of Edge. Early leaks of this version look a lot like Chrome but with Microsoft’s technology in place of Google’s. Chromium Edge won’t be limited to Windows 10, allowing Microsoft to scrape together a bit more market share for Edge.

The new Edge is in testing right now. Microsoft is aiming for a late 2019 release for mainstream users.

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