Google to drop Internet Explorer 6 support in March

Have any web designers around you broken into spontaneous song and dance? The latest post on Google’s Enterprise Blog may be responsible. In it, the search giant has announced that it will start dropping support for Internet Explorer 6.0 as of March 1, 2010.

The change will begin with Google Docs and Google Sites, and it will force IE6 users to upgrade. “You may find that from March 1 key functionality within these products — as well as new Docs and Sites features — won’t work properly in older browsers,” the blog post warns. Users are encouraged either to step up to a newer version of Microsoft’s browser or to ditch IE entirely and start using Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple’s Safari.

According to the latest Net Applications figures, IE6 still commands about 20% of the market, down from almost 33% a year ago. That tenacity might seem impressive for a browser that came out in August 2001, but web designers and developers are generally less impressed. IE6 has broken support for many older web standards and is missing support for newer ones, so maintaining compatibility with it often leads to headaches. Many sites, including TR, have to resort to IE6-specific workarounds and JavaScript hacks, as a result.

Broken Google pages could be a strong incentive for remaining IE6 users to upgrade. Of course, that doesn’t account for folks forced to use the browser in enterprise environments, where it might have survived to maintain compatibility with old intranet apps. In such cases, IT managers might be the next ones to suffer IE6-induced headaches. (Thanks to TechEye for the heads up.)

Comments closed
    • WasF
    • 10 years ago

    What?!
    This will harm IE6 severely! It may even disappear!

    What a loss!

    • alimaamoser
    • 10 years ago

    Really a educative and informative post, the post is good in all regards,I am glad to read this post
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      • miken
      • 10 years ago

      I found it not only educative, but also learnacious. Reading this article not only made me glad, it was more like I experienced an informedgasm.

    • Mithent
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t do a lot of web development, but when I did recently, everything worked fine in all browsers.. except IE 6, which required hours of bizarre workarounds to fix its rendering. It’s only due to the specific effort of web developers that IE6 really work at all with modern websites, and I’m sure they’d be very happy to see the back of it.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    r[

    • nerdrage
    • 10 years ago

    After a security audit, I set up one of our web servers to allow only TLSv1 encrypted connections, and found out right away that a lot of our users were still using IE6. For some reason, IE6 _[

      • axeman
      • 10 years ago

      It’s also probably the same reason many “secure” websites, ie, online banking only support max of RC4-128bit encryption. You’d think stuff as sensitive as banking would be an error where everyone would demand maximum security. Bravo Microsoft for creating the “good enough” attitude toward security.

        • blubje
        • 10 years ago

        bit strength only need be sufficient. no one has broken factorization in polynomial time. Bugs in SSL libraries are much more of an issue.

          • ztrand
          • 10 years ago

          I think the OPs point was that RC4 has algorithmic flaws and should be considered broken.

          edit: not OP, #53

    • jstern
    • 10 years ago

    IE 6, we hardly knew yeh. Well, it’s not like it’s dead.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    Great. There goes my email on my work computer!

    I hate IE6 with a passion and it impedes my ability to work in some cases, but the trouble is that they’ll take for farkin ever to move to something else. I’m still going to be stuck with it.

    • Pete
    • 10 years ago

    Poor Opera.

      • puppetworx
      • 10 years ago

      Opera is great, the only reason I don’t use it is that I find the user interface too complicated and distracting. If they slimmed Opera down and had all the extra ‘features’ as add-ons I’d find it much more appealing. For that reason I now user Firefox.

        • stdRaichu
        • 10 years ago

        Right-click > customise > remove from toolbar? Once you dig into it for two minutes opera has the most configurable UI of any browser I’ve used and I think the OotB experience is a reasonable compromise between a one button interface and exposing all of it’s functionality. The only gripe I have is all the rounded bloody buttons that appear to be on every single theme these days, thank god OperaWonderland still works.

        The thing I love most about opera is what are, to me, sensible defaults. The rigamarole of installing and configuring extensions to block ads, get gestures, edit keyboard shortcuts and customise the UI is a complete pain in the arse on one computer, let alone fifty.

          • wira020
          • 10 years ago

          You should try FEBE and CLEO add-on… they’ll work wonders for you if you always need to reinstall mozilla… it save ur extension n most of the setting n can also make it installable… for bookmark, foxmark is good enuf…

        • no51
        • 10 years ago

        l[< If they slimmed Opera down and had all the extra 'features' as add-ons I'd find it much more appealing.<]l You're contradicting yourself. I hope Opera never gets as bloated as firefox. And why use add-ons when it's native?

        • PeterD
        • 10 years ago

        RSS feeds in Opera arre clumsy, and I also have the feeling it interferes with Outlook Express. Probably because Opera uses resources OE also uses, and it might even be Opera exactly shares the resources with OE as OE and IE did before, for which I replaced IE with FF. It might also explain why Opera is faster than FF, but why FF gives a generally better performing pc than Opera does.

          • stdRaichu
          • 10 years ago

          Opera uses outlook express? Now I know why I can’t get it to work on OSX, Linux, BSD, Solaris or my mobile phone!

            • PeterD
            • 10 years ago

            No, Opera uses resources which Outlook Express also uses. If I have OE and FF open, than there is no problem. If I have OE and Opera open, than OE reacts slower. So, they must share something.
            Opera is fast because it does something which Internet Explorer also does. I don’t know exactly what, of course. But the problem is that that is exactly what hampers the system, and what even poses problem if one of both crashes.

            • stdRaichu
            • 10 years ago

            You are wrong about every single point in your post. Opera uses none of the same resources as OE. It’s a platform independent app and uses no native windows components.

    • bcronce
    • 10 years ago

    One company I worked at, our ticket tracking software was written *almost* entirely in Java. Don’t let the Java fool you, there was an itty-bitty sub 100k ActiveX control required to run it, so it wouldn’t work in any other browser. Also, this ActiveX control ONLY worked with the old ActiveX setup.

    If you attempted to patch IE6, it would instantly break. So, we had to get a VM and run this un-patched IE6 browser to access tickets.

      • xii
      • 10 years ago

      Anybody buying/writing code for ActiveX painted themselves in the (proverbial proprietary) corner. I don’t even really care anymore if others believe open-source software is crap – people use what they want to use – but at least let it be something that supports standards… Lest ye be the first to be bitten in the ass.

    • packfan_dave
    • 10 years ago

    IE6’s market share drop-off has been mostly due to the slow migration to Vista and the relatively fast migration to Win7. It’s Win7 (with IE8 included) that’s making dumping IE6 viable, not anything Google is doing.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      I remember not too long ago when IE6 had something like 50 or 60 percent of the market all to itself. To see it drop down all the way to 20% is amazing, even if its been a long time coming.

    • EsotericLord
    • 10 years ago

    I do IT support for a large community college in Virginia (TCC). The higher ups have refused to allow us to upgrade to IE 8 on any machines. The highest we can go is 7. We are also not allowed to install FF or Chrome or any other browser unless the person requests.

    It really is shocking how many people are still using IE 6 in that school, but apparently there’s some software that some of them run that isnt supported in IE 8.

    For the record, IE 8 is wonderful and even if you never use your IE (you use FF or some such) you should still upgrade to it.

      • PeterD
      • 10 years ago

      A sensible business man knows there’s no point in following the idea of upgrade-upgrade-upgrade on and on again. It’s pure waste of resources.
      Of course, the IT boys like it. They are those resources…

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        So, um, you’re saying that the boys in IT like to be wasted? Inconceivable…

          • Ethyriel
          • 10 years ago

          You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 10 years ago

        Given IE6’s notorious reputation of crap security and non-support for the modern Internet, its not a matter of “upgrade-upgrade-upgrade”. Its a matter making your network more secure and ensuring users have a pleasant internet experience. Both of these are made significantly more difficult so long as IE6 is alive.

          • PeterD
          • 10 years ago

          So, then, go for FF or something like that. MS will always be crappy.

          • stdRaichu
          • 10 years ago

          Nope, it’s a matter of it costing companies a fortune. We just finished a major hardware rollout at work and we’re still on XP with IE6.

          There are literally thousands of applications on corporate intranets that don’t work with anything but IE5.x and IE6; abandonware that’s somehow become essential to the business, some hacked together webapp some long-forgotten employee threw together in 2001, an accounting plugin that doesn’t have money in the budget for an upgrade, a financial backend that can’t be upgraded to version Y because the middleware only supports version X or even the outsourced rent-a-coders that are holding a non-IE6 version of their wares up for ransom. Lowest common denominator rules the corporate world, so if we can “make do” with IE6 then IE6 is what we get. It often takes a disaster and some smug know-all geek saying “I told you so, that’ll be £800 in overtime please” after coming off his 36hr shift of fixing shit before anyone will listen.

          MS is ultimately to blame in this by foisting their microsoft vision on the rest of the world and then pulling the rug out from underneath everyone when they realised they’d built a house of straw; especially when they banked on the glacial pace of rollouts in enterprises keeping their IE-only world alive longer than would have otherwise been possible in a web full of open standards.

          I’m lucky in that I’ve not run into any tech on the IT side that won’t run in any standards compliant browser with a JRE, so we can all safely run whatever browsers we want. Most people in my company are not so fortunate.

      • kvndoom
      • 10 years ago

      Hi neighbor!

    • ApockofFork
    • 10 years ago

    Out of curiosity is there anything stopping the companies that still need to use IE6 for specific applications to use it just for those applications and then run firefox or something else as a their primary web browser. I could see running multiple versions of IE being a problem but I would think that there should be simple enough work arounds for IT people.

      • bthylafh
      • 10 years ago

      No official trusted .MSI installers.

      • Logdan
      • 10 years ago

      One thing might. Policy.

      For instance, where I work, we (the IT Support group) don’t support anything other than IE. In fact, a portion of my job is to remove other browsers either manually or through automation in SMS. A lot of users have admin rights to their boxes, so that is how it gets on there in the first place.

      I should say that we have everyone updated to IE8, cept for a few virtual machines. Those systems sole purpose in life is to test things against older versions of IE.

      • PeterD
      • 10 years ago

      Out of curiiosity: is their anything stoppig the companies who always want us to buy new stuff and waste time on new stuff?

        • wira020
        • 10 years ago

        out of curiosity : buy what?

          • PeterD
          • 10 years ago

          Well, new computers, of course. And new os’s. And new programs. And new whatevers. (new video facilities, eg. like vhs -> dvd -> hd-dvd/bluray -> 3d-system…. Nice for peopel who have somthing on vhs which they like. BTW: have you noticed that you STILL can buy vhs recorders? VHS is here to stay.)

      • stdRaichu
      • 10 years ago

      As pointed out, policy, especially the group kind. Most MS shops will flat-out refuse any non-IE browser on the ground that it can’t use group policy and generally comes without support (not that this means jack shit in the real world, but in corpIT all i’s must be crossed and all t’s must be dotted). The only people I know at work who don’t run IE are the admins, the friends of the admins and the people who’ve done enough of a favour for the admins to warrant them risking disciplinary action by installing “untrusted” software.

        • PeterD
        • 10 years ago

        Oh, whoever busy in an MS shop, except for MS fanboys?

      • September
      • 10 years ago

      YES. We have small and utility applications around from 1999-2005 that only run in IE6, including some Delphi/ActiveX stuff that just won’t die. We even have one or two generations of replacement applications but the don’t cover all the functionality so the legacy apps still live on.

    • Ryhadar
    • 10 years ago

    I’ll be really happy when both IE6 *[

    • NeronetFi
    • 10 years ago

    My company is stuck with IE6 b/c some of our software vendors not supporting newer version of IE. We are stuck on an old version of Java for one of the apps we use.

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      Then theres probably better software developed in the 9 years since IE6 was new, hassle your boss to upgrade.

        • NeronetFi
        • 10 years ago

        I think alot of the issue is that we are a large medical facility and the money only goes where the big wigs want it to go 🙂 We have to pay the vendors for those upgrades so.

        • VaultDweller
        • 10 years ago

        In many cases you will find that better software will only have been developed if someone has been paid to develop it.

        Most cases where I hear of a company being stuck with IE6 for application support, the application in question is /[

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      You are a perfect candidate for virtualization. Go with one of the myriad of options and you can keep IE6 around “forever”.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 10 years ago

      we’ve got an application for running reports on our database that requires a specific verison of Java–I forget which one. I ask the people that wrote the app every time I talk with them if they’ll ever fix it…sadly, replacing it isn’t in the damn budget.

    • NeXus 6
    • 10 years ago

    *shakes head* at people still using IE6.

      • miken
      • 10 years ago

      I’m still using IE 5. 🙂

      Well, sorta. I have a Sigmarion III WinCE machine that can access the internet (at least in hot spots), has a full keyboard, and fits in my pocket. No monthly fee either. Don’t see getting a newer version of IE any time soon — make that ever. I’m amazed at what sites I can still browse (including TR) with Pocket IE 5. Flash even works, though on a 400 MHz ARM it ain’t really a YouTube-watching device.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 10 years ago

    Techreport should dump support for IE6. Lead by example.

      • radix
      • 10 years ago

      I agree. Readers of TR probably know better than use this crap.

        • Welch
        • 10 years ago

        Third the motion 🙂

      • PeterD
      • 10 years ago

      If TR drops support for the browser I use, I will just stop visiting TR. It won’t bring me to upgrade.

        • Logdan
        • 10 years ago

        How come you still use IE6?

          • Spurenleser
          • 10 years ago

          Look at the rest of his postings in this thread. That won’t provide the answer to your question though, but maybe other answers.

            • PeterD
            • 10 years ago

            What kind of answers?
            You make me curious.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 10 years ago

        The vast majority of people who visit this particular site, and others like it, are generally tech savvy enough that the removal of IE6 support will not be a significant hurdle at all, if they’re using IE6 at all. Statements of ‘Remove IE 6 and I leave this site forever’ will likely be echoed by the extreme minority (of people who visit this site and others like it), at best.

          • khands
          • 10 years ago

          I’m going to take a whack at it, 7 people, no more, no less.

        • xtalentx
        • 10 years ago

        Geeze that would be just too bad if you had to leave…

      • adisor19
      • 10 years ago

      Seconded.

      Adi

    • kvndoom
    • 10 years ago

    l[

    • khands
    • 10 years ago

    And IT all over the world rejoiced.

      • EsotericLord
      • 10 years ago

      And IT all over the world freaks out at the massive amount of upgrading and complaints they are about to do/receive.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        Personally, I hit too many security/virus issues supporting IE6, at least the issues with IE7/8 would settle down after a bit.

      • PeterD
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, and consumers all over the world are forced to dig in their wallets.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        The only cost is in downloading it, I don’t see how consumers have to pay anything unless their internet is $/MB.

          • PeterD
          • 10 years ago

          provided your current machine can run the new browser; that’s not always certain

            • khands
            • 10 years ago

            I suppose if you upgraded to XP in 2001 and haven’t replaced your machine that could be true.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            Yes, it is. Exactly how dumb are you?

            • poulpy
            • 10 years ago

            Surprises me that -although warned- you still haven’t been banned with your attitude. Have a walk, meet real people, pet a cat or something..

    • Vasilyfav
    • 10 years ago

    Hell, it’s about time.

      • GFC
      • 10 years ago

      I see what you did there ^^

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