IE6’s demise celebrated… by Microsoft

Of all people, Microsoft is cheering Internet Explorer 6’s long-awaited decline into irrelevance. In a post on the Windows Blog yesterday, the company revealed that IE6’s U.S. usage share has fallen below 1% for the first time, according to figures by Net Applications. Microsoft celebrated the milestone at the Hacker News Seattle Meet-up—and yes, cake was served:

IE6’s usage share is also under 1% in several other countries, including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Microsoft has been spurring the old browser’s decline with its IE6 Countdown website, which shows worldwide usage share statistics and urges users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.

Of course, Microsoft hasn’t been the only one actively campaigning for IE6’s retirement. Google dropped support for IE6 in March 2010, and we followed suit when we put up our latest redesign on January 1, 2011. Considering the browser’s atrocious implementation of old web standards and lack of support for new ones, it’s a wonder IE6 managed to stick around so long. (The very first IE 6.0 release came out in August 2001.)

Comments closed
    • NeronetFi
    • 8 years ago

    That 1% is probably due to companies like the one I work at. We have multiple software vendors and if just 1 of them is lagging behind then we can not globally upgrade all of the PC’s. We did try going to IE7 but that quickly ended when one of our imaging applications’ web controls had broken and would not reinstall on IE7. The Vendor told us that we would need to roll back to IE6 to resolve the issue.

    Later this year we hope to at least upgrade to IE8 once we apply updates to the software, but again, having so many applications that work together, we have to make sure that each piece works properly and interacts with the other applications correctly before applying a global upgrade.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      Run, baby, run, and keep on running….

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      Our company’s browser is dictated by a single government organization. If the government wants X, we jump. Sadly, they also demand specific versions of Java and Acrobat as well, and they are usually slightly out-of-date with security patches, so I spend a LOT of my time crossing my fingers that the IDS/IPS/client signatures and workarounds work until the government validates a modern version of respective software. It was, shall we say, frustrating, until I realized it’s beyond my control so I shrug it off.

        • WaltC
        • 8 years ago

        Yes, indeed. What can you do about it? Most government stuff is way behind the 8-ball, sad to say.

        • paulWTAMU
        • 8 years ago

        Hey, I thought we wer ethe only ones that had to deal with specific Java versions! My misery is shared, yaaay 🙂

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          I’ve got one user with one app that cares about its exact version of Java, v1.4.2_03, and the _03 portion matters too. Any other version at all will break it.

          Another area has a Java app that mostly works with a modern JRE, but a few users need a reporting function that relies on JRE 1.5; fortunately it’s not /quite/ as particular about getting the exact version, so they can get 1.5.22 (the final release).

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            Java’s RE was supposed to fix this need for multiple versions. “Compile once, run anywhere” is complete BS.

            • PeterD
            • 8 years ago

            Problem is that if software would be of a guaranteed quality, people would be more eager to upgrade.
            But in reality “if it ain’t broken, don’t mend it,” is a much wiser stance to take. Lots of upgrades go wrong.
            If you want something exciting to happend to your pc, quit playing games, start upgrading.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            In fairness, it’s not as bad as it used to be. 1.4 was the high-water mark for version stupidity, and after that it seems limited to making sure you’ve got the correct major release in those instances when it matters.

          • just brew it!
          • 8 years ago

          I deal with this sort of idiocy too. Some of the people in the office are required to use some specialized apps which talk to the IBM AS/400 at corporate. They require a specific version of Java, and certain features break if you install newer versions of Acrobat Reader. So the choice is to either leave the older (and exploit-vulnerable) versions of Java and Acrobat installed, or break mission-critical apps. WTF.

          With our upcoming server upgrade (which will give us plenty of excess capacity), I’m toying with the idea of setting up a pool of dedicated VMs just to run that crap, which people will access via Remote Desktop over the LAN. That way we can at least keep the old, vulnerable apps off of people’s desktops and sandbox them on a centrally managed server.

          At least we don’t have any Intranet apps that require IE6… they fixed that a couple of years ago. (They still require IE… but at least they seem to work fine with IE8.)

      • gamoniac
      • 8 years ago

      My company just got out of IE 6…. to IE 7 (go figure) in the 2nd half of last year. Another big issue with IE 7 and later is multi-tabbing, which posts a huge issue when users have multiple tabs that point to the same session. This causes unintended consequences when programs were designed to own the entire session. These pages rely on the same session variables, so when user goes between tabs, they could end up deleting/updating the wrong records.

      This got worse in IE 8 when different instances of browser (not just tabs) actually share the same session. It’s easy to blame the programmers for poor design, but they couldn’t really foresee the advent of multitab 6 – 10 years ago.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Probably Steve Ballmer’s idea to make MS look like they’re celebrating.

    • south side sammy
    • 8 years ago

    in the past week i read microsoft is way behind and loosing in internet usage….. IE …… does it surprise anybody. each new build is worse than the one preceding. maybe they should see the ease of usage that firefox brings to the plate. i think i still use 6……… when something i’m using uses it to do an update. other than that i never touch it and haven’t for years. think they would get the message and redesign it….. completely.

    • Geistbar
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t think that Microsoft is celebrating the end of IE6 is surprising. Every bit of bad press about IE6 is effectively bad press for Microsoft. It also has a negative effect on most of the PC industry to some extent or another- the more usage it has, the more likely websites will need to support it, meaning sites will be more complicated to code, raising the bar of entry for making your own web presence, meaning there’s less reasons to go online, making computers less useful, lowering Windows sales at the margin. That’s obviously a big chain of events, but Microsoft will want to have as much of the market as it can, while making the market itself as big as they can.

    They don’t make their own browser solely for the sake of having something with Bing as the default search provider- they feel they actively gain something from it- in this case, it’s probably providing some controlled (by them) minimum level of quality. It’s similar to why Google made the Chrome browser- they wanted more control over browser quality, to encourage better web experiences, and thus, more money for them.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]I don't think that Microsoft is celebrating the end of IE6 is surprising. [/quote<] They just don't have anything else to boost about. [quote<]the more usage it has, the more likely websites will need to support it, ....[/quote<] I think that's a myth. The more people stick to IE6, the less sites have to be adopted to younger IE's. IE6 is still around because there is such a lot of it.

    • larchy
    • 8 years ago

    You can only eat the cake with a special Microsoft spoon that doesn’t work with any other type of cake?

      • Yeats
      • 8 years ago

      Only an ice cream cake, otherwise I eat cake with a fork… or even my fingers, barbarian that I am.

      • Wirko
      • 8 years ago

      IE6 was just that special Microsoft spoon.

    • Sahrin
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Considering the browser's atrocious implementation of old web standards and lack of support for new ones, it's a wonder IE6 managed to stick around so long. (The very first IE 6.0 release came out in August 2001.)[/quote<] IDK, what kind of standards compliance did Firefox show in 2001? I'm always surprised that the tenor of these articles seems to be so anti-MS or anti-IE. IE6 was a great product when it was released, the definitive version of the "20th century web browser." The idea that it, and MS (who was required to support it due to their long life of product support, something I don't hear the author complaining about) are somehow bad because 10 years passed since it was released is suspect.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      The complaint isn’t so much about how bad IE6 was at it’s time, but at how bad many groups and organizations are about replacing it. Many companies are horrendously reluctant to update anything on their computers for fear of breaking something- some of that is good sense, but sometimes it goes on too long. Other companies built internal web applications that were tailored specifically for IE6 and don’t work on anything else, so they don’t want to spend the money re-writing or replacing those. Other cases are people with pirated copies of XP, which until recently couldn’t get new versions of IE without getting past the WGA checks. Others are just people too lazy to update their computer at all, for various reasons.

      People hate IE6 because it’s stuck with us for so long, and has aged really poorly, not because of how it compared to it’s contemporaries at release.

      • Yeats
      • 8 years ago

      There was no Firefox in 2001.

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        Keep digging, Watson.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          He is technically correct though.

          Mozilla existed as a web suite (code from the defunct Netscape), but the project broke up into its components each with their own teams.

      • eofpi
      • 8 years ago

      It was the definitive 20th century web browser: proprietary features, little support for web standards, incompatible interpretations of the standards it did support, and so on.

      The 21st century web is all about broad support for web standards and reasonably consistent interpretations thereof. IE6 belongs in the dustbin of history, and it’s good to see MS finally put it there.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        MS have been wanting to put it there for years, it just wasn’t up to them anymore.

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          There is absolutely no moral obligation to do away with your IE6 copy, whatever impression MS might want to give you. And that in itself explains why such a lot of people clinged to IE6. Some people run like hell to get every update they can get (especially if it’s for free), but lots of other people just don’t give a shit. It doesn’t matter to them, and it’s their right to keep IE6. MS is not chief of the world, nor of somebody else’s computer.
          Anyway: I ditched IE for FF, long ago, and had less problems.

            • PeterD
            • 8 years ago

            Some MS fanboy lurking around.

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Fanboys, sure. Can’t possibly be that your opinion is repulsive. No, that can’t be it.

            • PeterD
            • 8 years ago

            Repulsive?
            Last time I heard that word, it was spoken by a priest preeching. Those guys think everything is “repulsive”.

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    Goodbye IE6.

    Unless you’re running Windows 2000, that is, where it’s still the newest and best-supported IE version available….

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      Firefox works fine on Win2k still, I’m weird like that.

        • ludi
        • 8 years ago

        Word. Still got an old P4 box running Win2k, fire it up every now and then to read PDFs and tutorial websites while indulging hobbies at my workbench. Running latest Firefox and that works out great.

      • Lans
      • 8 years ago

      I think I still have IE6 on my XP laptop but I only use it for Windows updates… I always uncheck updating IE… 🙂

      P.S. I guess I should upgrade if and when I turn on laptop…

    • Sanctusx2
    • 8 years ago

    It’d be fascinating to see some of the reasons behind the numbers. Why is China so high? You’d think they’d push some form of domestic browser, or at least forcefully encourage people to upgrade to something more secure given how thorough an understanding of security their government must have.

    Also, Japan seems up there among first world nations. A little surprising considering how on top of the tech world they are. I wonder where those copies are running, probably not family PCs. Maybe some archaic mobile devices still floating around?

      • alsoRun
      • 8 years ago

      I am a Chinese in US. There are huge number of the so called “Net Bars” in China, each with 50-200 PCs. The margin of this business is low and they all use Windows XP and therefore IE6. Each summer I am in China, I depend on Net Bar for web access and I hate these machines. I can not access so many sites.

      Another Chinese feature is the strong dependence on Flash in their websites.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        They’re perfectly able to install IE8 on those WinXP boxes, except they’re probably all pirate copies.

        I have to wonder why they don’t install Red Flag Linux or some other Linux distro, since it’s free and doesn’t bring as many security worries.

          • Sargent Duck
          • 8 years ago

          Less security worries than XP? Agreed on a base level.

          The problem is no one knows how to use Linux and as such they won’t know how to properly configure it to be really secure. Yes, it’s probably pretty easy, but then again I work in support and I get IT admins who don’t know anything about Windows, so I can only imagine them on Linux…Oh, wait a minute. Yes I can. Co-worker of mine got that guy yesterday.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Have you tried Ubuntu 10.04? It’s pretty easy for a naive user to pick up.

            Don’t know how an Internet cafe’d do something like Deepfreeze on Linux, but it shouldn’t be necessary anyway: just have everyone log in as a guest user and forcibly log them off between users so the user directory is deleted, and have someone log in with an admin account daily or weekly to install updates. Pretty simple.

            • d0g_p00p
            • 8 years ago

            or you can the eazy thing and have all the machines boot from a central nfs mount

            • just brew it!
            • 8 years ago

            Distros like Ubuntu are pretty secure in their default config. They install a bare minimum of externally visible (over the network) services, which minimizes the number of things which are potentially exploitable.

          • axeman
          • 8 years ago

          I thought once upon a time Microsoft blocked installing certain updates if WGA checks fail, but then changed the policy to just try and make IE6 die.

          • alsoRun
          • 8 years ago

          Linux does not play games, which is what most teens there doing.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Ah, yes, that would be a problem.

            • just brew it!
            • 8 years ago

            In an Internet cafe they would be playing Flash games in a web browser (which should work just fine).

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Wouldn’t surprise me if some of those places had Starcraft or some other Windows-only game.

        • StuG
        • 8 years ago

        Thanks for your insight, that was interesting. Sorry to hear that you have to rely on such establishments for internet though. Better than none! 🙂

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        XP supports IE8, Firefox, and Chrome. Are the “Net Bar” people too lazy to upgrade the browsers on their PCs?

          • alsoRun
          • 8 years ago

          I have been to 6-8 Internet Bars in the City of Wuxi. They all use the same software system even with different owners. People working there usually work long hours and they are generally not tech-savy. They are mostly just checking ID and collecting money. By the way, it is 4 yuans (70 cents US) for one hour of machine time.

      • ew
      • 8 years ago

      Japan is a real head scratcher for me too. At the risk of sounding ageist there are a lot of old people in Japan and maybe they just aren’t upgrading. South Korea is also bizarre.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t think that really figures.
        Eg: old people could have gotten in the computer game rather late, which means they bought fairly recent pc’s, which means… they’re not the ones using old OS’s or old browsers!
        It’s somthing I regularly notice: the older they are, the younger their machines are.
        The fact is that the upgrade cycle people use, is just not that fast as the development cycle companies hope they use.
        Get real, and stop fostering the idea that technology IRL is developing as fast as in the lab. It’s one of the reasons BluRay was a failure: it was on the market too soon, and when it was finally the right timeswap with the introduction of dvd (regular flavour, that is), there were lots of competing technologies.

    • ew
    • 8 years ago

    The pie chart at [url<]http://www.ie6countdown.com/[/url<] indicates that the US is the second largest user of IE6 by total usage share. It's still nothing compared China though.

      • no51
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]It's still nothing compared China though.[/quote<] all those pirated copies of xp are keeping it alive.

        • Arag0n
        • 8 years ago

        It’s not like piracy isn’t as problematic outside of china… the point is that china is full of crappy laptops and computers. That’s what happens when you have a country that is become rich enough to buy computers at almost any home, but this computer must be cheap as hell (range from 200 to 400$, got it why Llano is important Tech Report??) So there is a lot of people with ATOM’s laptops and crappy RAM and CPU’s, so they NEVER could use pirated versions of Vista, and 7 is having a hard time….

        So… as I wanted to say… it’s not like chinese piracy is much higher than in other countries… it’s that in other countries people buy better machines, so they can use pirated copies of newer systems easily

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          it’s not like chinese piracy is much higher than in other countries… it’s that in other countries people pirate newer programs 🙂

          • Geistbar
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]it's not like chinese piracy is much higher than in other countries[/quote<] Wrong. China has, as of 2007/2008, the [url=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_sof_pir_rat-crime-software-piracy-rate<]17th[/url<] highest software piracy rate in the world, at ~[url=http://www.chinatechnews.com/2009/05/14/9758-bsa-software-piracy-rate-down-to-80-in-china<]80%[/url<]. Most of the west varies from 20% to 50%, though not all. Such measurements will always be flawed to some extent, but China really and truly [i<]does[/i<] pirate far more than most other countries. The issue might not be the piracy itself- them not having hardware that can handle newer operating systems seems logical- but your statement (quoted) is quite wrong.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 8 years ago

            I believe China’s issue is that the government and businesses are/were pirating practically everything. They’ve since decided they’re probably not supposed to do that, but they’ll probably do just like businesses here and wait until they need entirely new hardware before they change their software.

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