Internet Explorer 6 is almost 10 years old and it is one browser that is heavily criticized by web developers all over. Facebook, YouTube and so many of our everyday websites did not exist when IE6 was released. This makes it one of the most obsolete browsers which is still used in quite large numbers.
Microsoft has decided to get its act together and start giving IE6 an official goodbye. TheIE6Countdown.com is a website that is dedicated to shows stats on IE6 usage. The idea being the website will watch IE6 usage drop to less than 1% of the market share. Currently it stands at 12%, so I guess it’s a long way to go.
What went wrong with IE 6?
Initially a lot of things went right for IE6. The first part being that very quickly it became the default browser being used along with capturing almost 90% of the browser market.
- Strangely this success led to Microsoft to stop innovating when it came to browsers. This meant IE7, their next version of IE6 was released a good 5 years later. Can you imagine a software version update that takes 5 years? It is quite mind-boggling!
- IE6 was also closely associated with the success of Windows XP. IE7 was the default browser for Windows Vista, but the problem was Vista bombed and that meant lesser people moved over to IE6 even after all those 5 years.
- In 2009, when IE8 was released the adoption was not all that successful either and even 8 years after IE6 was released it was the most used browser in the world.
- Microsoft surely did not take the removal of IE6 seriously until Google Apps, Facebook and YouTube dropped support for IE6. This probably woke the giant (Microsoft) out of its slumber.
Microsoft’s lack of initiative
Microsoft spends billions of dollars on advertisements and marketing when the roll out a new OS version. They really push their regular users to upgrade to the latest version of Windows. This they do with a lot of initiative and with a sense of purpose. I wonder why they did not show the same initiative to get rid of IE6 which has become obsolete over 5 years ago! I think the answer lies with the fact the Windows is a paid software while IE version are free.
Also the lack of innovation and movement on IE6 by Microsoft is because of Microsoft attitude towards the internet in general. Microsoft at least until a few years ago, did not think much about the internet and its importance to people. It is not surprise that they became serious about cloud, search and even social networking much later than the world did. This attitude is best represented in the lazy farewell to IE6 by Microsoft.
TheIE6Countdown.com website does give out reasons for upgrading from IE6. The reasons given by Microsoft are
The web has changed significantly over the past 10 years. The browser has evolved to adapt to new web technologies, and the latest versions of Internet Explorer help protect you from new attacks and threats.
Notice that they still are harping on better security, a point that many users will not take so seriously. They should have ideally said that IE6 is just outdated and not fit for the internet today.
Alas, Microsoft never learns!
Do drop in your comments and views about IE6 and the terrible nightmares it has given web developers the world over.