Sage CRM, Internet Explorer and ActiveX: What does the future hold?

This article has its origin within an exchange of emails I had with one of our leading Development Partners. They wanted clarification around Sage CRM's use of ActiveX and Internet Explorer 11. They were anxious to understand what would happen if these two technologies were 'ended' by Microsoft.


ActiveX and Internet Explorer contain technology that is intertwined with the Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft is moving away from ActiveX. ActiveX is not supported within Edge and Internet Explorer is not supported for Office 365.

Microsoft has been signalling since 2015 that it wants to redesign and rethink its Windows operating system approach. Windows 10 is Microsoft's final version of Windows and what it will do in the future is to incrementally change the operating system in a modular way through updates. Microsoft has also said that IE11 will continue to be supported for the lifecycle of the OS – There are no plans to remove IE11.

This means that ActiveX and IE11 are core technologies within Windows 10 but we cannot look to use them directly for Office 365 integration. We can, however, use them for integration within the local device as ActiveX and IE11 are integral parts of Windows 10.

We know what aspects of the Outlook Integration are dependent on ActiveX and therefore IE11. 

The Sage CRM development team have identified specific functionality that is affected when IE is unavailable or physically uninstalled from a user’s PC. But please note that IE is an integral part of Windows 10.

Our developers are planning to redesign these specific features so that they do not rely on IE (ActiveX), but this may not be possible in all cases – some features were built to take advantage of ActiveX, and simply cannot be implemented any other way.

This means that for the Outlook Integration we may still have a dependency on ActiveX and IE11 for certain operations, but this is likely to be for background tasks. 

Sage CRM has a rolling 3-year roadmap with a commitment from the Sage board that the product will have continued investment. Sage is firmly committed to providing Office 365 integration. We have been doing extensive work in 2020 R2 and 2021 R1 to support Office 365's requirements for Modern Authentication (OAuth2). This impacts the internal email client, Exchange Integration and Advanced Email Management.