Google today announced it is retiring Chrome Frame for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, a plug-in that brings Chrome’s engine to old IE versions. The company wouldn’t share an exact date, but did say it will end support and cease releasing updates sometime in January 2014.

Google’s reasoning appears to be based on the fact that Chrome Frame was released (initially in September 2009 and then as a stable build in September 2010) at a time when old versions of Internet Explorer, which don’t support the latest Web technologies, were still in very high use. Now, the latest versions of Microsoft browsers are dominating.

“Today, most people are using modern browsers that support the majority of the latest web technologies,” Google said as an explanation of its decision. “Better yet, the usage of legacy browsers is declining significantly and newer browsers stay up to date automatically, which means the leading edge has become mainstream.”

Google’s goal with Chrome Frame was to let developers bring better experiences to more users, especially those who could not upgrade their old IE browser (mainly employees in large corporations). Chrome Frame let them set a tag on their pages to automatically switch IE users to Chrome Frame or prompt them to install the plugin if they didn’t have it. Now, the company is asking any developer whose app leverages Chrome Frame to prompt visitors to upgrade to a modern browser instead.

As for administrators, Google is hoping to pitching them Chrome for Business coupled with Legacy Browser Support, which lets employees switch “seamlessly” between Chrome and another browser (read: old versions of IE). The company has been working hard to get Chrome into enterprises, letting businesses configure over 100 policies for the browser.

Roger Capriotti, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer director, offered the following statement on the news:

More and more people are using modern browsers every day. To help move the web forward, we continue to upgrade our Windows customers through Windows Update to ensure they have the latest version of IE for their PC. We also encourage developers to build modern HTML5 sites that are interoperable and help move the web forward.

Unsurprisingly, the company didn’t even bother mentioning Chrome Frame.

See also – Google brings legacy support extension support to Chrome, adds cloud-based admin tools for businesses and Google kills Internet Explorer 8 support in Google Apps

Top Image Credit: Half Cut