Microsoft's own security chief has warned millions of people who continue to use Internet Explorer as a default web browser are placing themselves in "peril".
The company, which first developed Internet Explorer in 1995, is no longer supporting new development for the web browser. Continued use of the software was potentially risky, according to Chris Jackson, Microsoft’s worldwide lead for cyber security.
Internet Explorer has increasingly fallen out of favour for both users and developers amid the rise of alternatives like Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari, which have grabbed an increasing share of the web browser market.
Google Chrome overtook Internet Explorer as the world's most popular web browser in 2016.
Microsoft has been looking at new business ventures in its bid to reinvent itself and compete with Silicon Valley's incumbents. In November, Microsoft briefly overtook Apple as the world's most valuable publicly-listed company as investors have gained confidence in its push into cloud computing.
“We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days,” Mr Jackson said.
Microsoft has in recent years encouraged users to adopt its more modern web browser, the Microsoft Edge, which was released in 2015.
According to data firm Statista, about 5.5 pc of UK consumers still use Internet Explorer as their primary way of accessing the Internet.
In a blog post, Mr Jackson warned that companies using Internet Explorer are taking on a “technical debt” to pay for support on old software and could end up using “a 1999 implementation of web standards” if they didn’t take all the necessary measures to update it when creating new web pages.
Though a number of websites currently work on Internet Explorer, new apps will not be integrated into the service, limiting the web applications available.
A number of firms have opted to continue using Internet Explorer as their websites are dependent on its underlying infrastructure.
"We want you to use IE for the sites that need it - what I'm trying to say here is that I hope you don't use it for everything else,” Mr Jackson said in a comment on the blog post.
Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer 10 in January 2020, while Internet Explorer 11 will remain as the final iteration of the software.