Print 42 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Feb 5 at 6:29 PM

Google has delivered some bad news for computer users clinging to the ancient Internet Explorer 6. It's dropping official support for the browser. An estimated 20 percent of the market (largely business users) still use IE 6.  (Source: Mouse Mates NI)
Google looks to lay a dinosaur of a browser to rest

Internet Explorer 6 was a well-liked browser that helped expand Microsoft browser market share to epic proportions (it has since slid to about 60 percent following the international success of Mozilla's Firefox).  

However, perhaps it was a little too good.  Many companies and individual users liked it so much that almost nine years later they still use the dinosaur of a browser.  And surprisingly some of the tech world's biggest names -- including Adobe Software and Google – use the browser not only for compatibility testing, but for daily browsing needs as well.

The danger of using such badly outdated software was brought into focus when Google and others were struck by hackers exploiting a flaw in Internet Explorer.  The latest version of IE -- IE 8 -- was at substantially lower risk, thanks to its memory protections.

Now Google has reportedly released an internal memo saying that the company will no longer use 
or support Internet Explorer 6.  Writes Google:

We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.

Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.

Starting this week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser. We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.

The decision to drop IE 6 support both internally and publicly is a rather bold move by Google.  In January Net Applications showed IE 6 to still be clinging to 20.06 percent market share -- almost as much as the newer IE 7.  By abandoning support for 20 percent of users, Google is pressuring users to switch to newer browsers -- something Microsoft has long been pleading customers and IT admins to do, even if it hasn't tried forcing their hands.  Google also risks alienating customers, though, who continue to cling to the ancient browser.

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About time
By amanojaku on 2/2/2010 11:33:32 AM , Rating: 1
The only way people are going to move from IE6 is if they are forced to. The holdouts are businesses whose IT staff claim it's too expensive (um, Windows Update or AD push tools?) or that it's necessary for legacy apps. Necessary? The apps are just a front end; changing the layout to support standard HTML should be easy. That's part of the reason for having a separate app layer.

RE: About time
By jacarte8 on 2/2/2010 11:41:14 AM , Rating: 5
The cost issue isn't the actual rollout of IE 8... the issue is with testing internal applications and web pages for compatibility and then addressing those issues. Most IT staffs are already down to skeleton crew...

RE: About time
By amanojaku on 2/2/2010 11:58:13 AM , Rating: 2
As a vendor one of my responsibilities is to provide proofs of concept that display our products in action. Clients get to poke and prod before making a purchase, and this is where compatibility issues are discovered. The customer should NEVER have to use its own resources for that, and if it does that is its choice.

RE: About time
By porkpie on 2/2/2010 12:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
As pretty as the view is through those rose-colored glasses, incompatibility problems are still rampant. My own company still requires all machines to be IE6, since literally hundreds of apps would need to be tested and patched to work on newer browsers. Most of these apps were written internally, so its no good going back to "the vendor" and demanding they do the work instead.

RE: About time
By Lerianis on 2/5/2010 6:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, yes it is.... you find the guy who wrote these things in the first place, say "I want this recoded for Firefox and standards!" and they go!

If they don't..... they are fired. That is what most of the businesses I deal with now are saying about IE6 and internal apps, and let's be real here: there are AUTOMATED apps that can rewrite WITHOUT ANY USER INPUT proprietary apps for standards.

RE: About time
By SAnderson on 2/2/2010 2:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
Thats the reason for us here most likely. My guess is we'll stay on IE6 until we begin buying new computers with Windows7 already installed.

RE: About time
By heffeque on 2/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: About time
By Camikazi on 2/2/2010 4:43:39 PM , Rating: 3
Yes cause someone who can pirate Windows doesn't know how to upgrade their browser, or use a different one... right.

RE: About time
By jonmcc33 on 2/2/2010 10:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, there are many web applications that don't play well with IE7 and mainly IE8. Service Desk Express will not work properly on IE8 for example.

So the cost would be to get the company web software up to par with working on IE7/IE8. That usually involves paying developers, buying new licenses, downtime of production environments, etc.

You haven't worked in a corporate environment I take it?

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