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Microsoft: Why We Can't Drop IE6 Support

The fact that many sites are still supporting an eight year old browser has long been a topic of conversation on the web and Microsoft has now thrown its own 2 cents in, explaining the why dropping support for IE6 is not an option.

The post by Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager of the Internet Explorer team, references a recent survey done by Digg.com regarding users who were still using IE6. The survey showed that 69 percent of Digg users still using Internet Explorer 6 were doing so because either they don’t have administrator access on my computer or someone at work says they can't and it looks like Microsoft is standing behind those who cannot upgrade because their employer says they can't.

Dean begins by stating that as a browser supplier, of course the company wants users to run the latest version of IE for security, performance, interoperability, and more. However, Dean goes on to say that a huge number of computers do not belong to individual users, but to organizations and highlights the cost of maintaining and updating so many machines, concluding that the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC.

The post clarifies that it has to support IE6 because the company committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product; hence dropping support is "not an option." However, several major websites would be inclined to disagree. Do you think major websites should stop support for IE6? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

  • jerther
    Do you think major websites should stop support for IE6?
    Yeah, that's what we call progress. 8 years, it's kind of time.

    Some sites already begun to leave IE6 support by the way :)
    Reply
  • All I get from this article is that MS won't force companies to upgrade IE6, but they will force them to upgrade OS. I'm sure that if they were charging for IE, support for version 6 would have been dropped long ago.
    Reply
  • tomatallegro
    Yep, it is time to leave IE 6 behind. There really is no need for it anymore, other than lazy (or overworked) admins at large corporations who won't (or can't) upgrade their fleet of XP users. I think major web sites should force the issue by phasing out IE6 support at the end of 2009. I mean let's get into the 21st century already.
    Reply
  • scook9
    All the machines where I work have IE6 and XP....SO we all use Firefox since it is also installed.
    Reply
  • rbriz
    If you are a web developer trying to use CSS Layouts and web standards. Having to support IE6 is enough to drive you nuts. Learn2Upgrade.
    Reply
  • I am still using IE 5 with Windows Me and I love it!
    Reply
  • duckmanx88
    I had applied for a job at SEIU and they made me take this test on their computers. they were still using IE6 and Windows 98. its ridiculous. I hate when people cling for dear life to old technology and software. very inefficient especially when all their computers had limewire on it.
    Reply
  • jerther
    windowsmeloverI am still using IE 5 with Windows Me and I love it!HUH!? you must be out of your mind!!! :P

    em3e3All I get from this article is that MS won't force companies to upgrade IE6, but they will force them to upgrade OS. I'm sure that if they were charging for IE, support for version 6 would have been dropped long ago.You're wrong. They keep support for IE6 up because some of their still supported OS come with it. We're talking about WinXP
    Reply
  • silversquare
    As a web developer I whole heartedly think we should stop trying to fanagle our sites to work with IE6. But the fact is there are still plenty of users on IE6 that we cannot ignore it and our clients wouldn't appreciate it much if we did. In the interim though we don't try to make IE6 support every feature we have for modern browsers as long as the general experience is present. It will be nice someday when we don't have to worry about graceful degradation for any version of IE though wouldn't it?
    Reply
  • fuser
    Large public websites cannot afford to drop IE6 support. You can force your website visitors to upgrade or go away, but there's always the risk that users will pick the latter option.
    Reply