Microsoft Wants Internet Explorer 6 Gone for Good

Mar 6, 2011 6:00 AM PST
REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft wants its 10-year-old Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) browser gone for good.

The company reportedly launched a deathwatch today that included a website that shows declining usage and links where corporate IT departments can get advice on how to migrate to newer browsers like IE8 and impending IE9.

Although Microsoft reported statistics from web analytics firm Net Applications that shows IE6 holds onto a 12 percent global usage share, the company said it wants to reduce the aged browser’s share to under 1 percent.

IE6's stronghold is in business, where upgrading can be difficult because of custom Web applications or Intranets designed for the old browser.

In a Microsoft blog, Roger Capriotti, head of IE's marketing wrote, "We bring you the next step in our mission to see IE6 gone for good. To demonstrate our commitment to getting rid of IE6, we're launching a website."

The deathwatch website details Net Applications' usage share numbers for IE6 in 43 countries, including the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and Russia, as well as the browser's current global share.

China leads usage of IE6 at 34.5 percent, followed by South Korea at 24.8 percent, India at 12.3 percent and Taiwan at 10.7 percent. The U.S. accounts for just 2.9 percent.

Microsoft’s wish to kill IE6 is nothing new. A company executive reportedly said in 2009 that "Friends don't let friends use IE6."

Although Microsoft wants users to move to IE8 and IE9, it has not been able to stop users from abandoning its browser line completely and switching to rivals like Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari.

In the last year IE has reportedly lost 4.8 percentage points, dropping to a 56.8 percent share.

At the same time, Chrome has gained 5.3 points, while Safari has increased its share by 1.9 percentage points according to Net Applications.

At this pace IE6 should fall under 1 percent by June 2012.

Microsoft said it will support IE6 until April 2014.

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