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IE loses stranglehold on the enterprise as Chrome makes major inroads

Gregg Keizer | June 9, 2015
Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) is about to lose the one market it's had locked up for decades: The enterprise.

"Part of Microsoft's strategy is to make Edge compatible enough [with Chrome], and get businesses to use Edge instead of Chrome," said Silver. "[But] Microsoft is already a little bit late" to change that dynamic.

Some businesses, however, won't be able to desert IE11 and move to Edge even after they migrate to Windows 10. For them, IE11 is forever.

Those enterprises will be the ones that adopt Microsoft's "long-term servicing branch" (LTSB), one of the three update tracks the company will offer customers. LTSB locks down devices by serving up only security and critical updates — no feature changes or functionality improvements — meaning that the systems, once on Windows 10, remain static.

"Edge will not be present on PCs running LTSB because the automatic update model of Edge is a complete mismatch with the LTSB approach, which is designed to severely limit updates," Silver and Smith wrote in their report.

Some organizations haven't grasped that yet, Silver said. "The whole thing is pretty messy."

Gartner has long recommended that enterprises adopt a two-pronged approach to browsers: One to handle legacy apps and sites, the other for all other online apps and websites. Doing so lets employees access the old but does not punish them by making them access the Internet with a creaky, sub-par browser.

Edge is Microsoft's move to fulfill the two-pronged scheme solely with its own browsers: IE11 for legacy, Edge for all the rest. But with Windows 10 required to implement such a strategy, enterprises will only continue to add alternate browsers, like Chrome.

"Even with Edge, Microsoft is still in trouble," Silver said.


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