Microsoft waits for death of Internet Explorer 6

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

With development of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) browser almost complete, Microsoft announced on Friday that it is time for IE6 users to move away from the antiquated 10-year-old browser. Microsoft has replaced it with three newer versions. On a new website, "The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown", Microsoft has launched an aggressive campaign to persuade users to stop using IE6 and update to a newer IE. Its goal is to decrease IE6 users to less than one percent.

"[Ten] years ago, a browser was born. Its name was Internet Explorer 6. Now that we’re in 2011, in an era of modern web standards, it’s time to say goodbye," Microsoft says on "The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown".

Internet Explorer's market share is slipping. IE's various versions accounted for 70 percent of the market in 2009; this has dropped to approximately 56 percent today. Mozilla Firefox, its main rival, has been actively increasing its market share while the recently released Google Chrome is also quickly gaining users. PC World's recent analysis of its own web traffic statistics concluded, "Usually, Internet Explorer is the #2 browser after Firefox, but over the past 30 days it's been #3, a couple of points behind Safari-and nearly tied with Chrome. It might be a statistical blip. But if it isn't, and Chrome continues to surge, IE could fall to fourth place."

Web developers face big problems with IE6. As they design their web pages for the newer browsers with advanced web technology and geared to the newest web core markup language HTML 5, they are forced to accommodate older out-of-date technology to support IE6 users. Also, not mentioned on Microsoft's "The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown" site, are the numerous security vulnerabilities putting the browser at risk of being hacked. The Internet security firm, has said that as of March 4, 2011, IE6 has 277 vulnerabilities; 39 percent of these are rated "highly critical". Microsoft says that the latest versions of Internet Explorer provide the user with enhanced protection from these attacks and threats.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 is one of the most successful software products ever as measured by its durability and the massive numbers of people who have used it. IE6 shipped with Windows XP, nearly a decade ago. But it has outlived its usefulness, and Microsoft no longer wants to support it.