Microsoft Kicks Off Campaign to Kill Internet Explorer 6
Microsoft has launched a new campaign to rid the web of Internet Explorer 6. The company’s new IE6countdown website tracks IE6′s dwindling market share and encourages developers to paste a code snippet into their websites, telling any IE6 users to upgrade.
According to Net Applications, IE6 still has a 12 percent user share worldwide. In the U.S. the number is just under 3 percent, but in China it’s still almost 35 percent. That means millions of people are using a browser that’s older than Gmail, Ubuntu, Borat and even The Euro.
You’d be hard pressed to find a web developer that doesn’t want to get rid of IE6. In fact, many websites — including, for example, Google — long ago stopped supporting IE6, but having IE6′s creator jump on the “let’s get rid of IE6″ bandwagon is encouraging.
The problem is that some users have no choice but to stick with IE6. There are still some sites on the web that require IE6 and even more in private intranets. Telling users who need IE6 to access these sites to upgrade isn’t going to solve the problem. The problem is with the websites, not the users. The IE6countadown site has a section devoted to IT staff and corporate users looking to upgrade, but there’s little the company can do for those with sites built only for IE6.
The other problem with Microsoft’s upgrade campaign is that it directs users to install Internet Explorer 8 — already two years old and soon to be replaced by IE9. Why not hold the campaign until IE9 is here and users can upgrade to an even better browser?
Simple — IE9 won’t be available on Windows XP. And if you’re using IE6 you’re on Windows XP (or something even older). It’s a depressing thought, but if you’re still using Windows XP, IE8 is as good as it will ever get unless you switch to a different web browser.
If you’d like to join in Microsoft’s campaign, the company has put together a cut-and-paste code snippet that will display a banner telling IE6 users to upgrade. The graphic isn’t the prettiest thing around, and you’ll want to add some actual text to the alt tag. But the big change we suggest making is to the link — point your users to a more modern browser, say Firefox or Chrome, rather than the IE8 upgrade page. That way people can enjoy the modern web, but still keep IE6 around for those times they need it.