The popular blog publishing tool WordPress has joined the growing cadre of sites dropping support for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 web browser. The recently upgraded WordPress.com brings a handful of new features and a revamped, cleaner design in the admin pages, but perhaps the biggest news in the release is that the admin pages no longer support IE 6.
Users visiting the admin section of WordPress.com with IE 6 will now see a message to upgrade their browser (the same message will appear in the self-hosted WordPress 3.2 when it is released in June). The WordPress blog says it’s dropping IE 6 because, “it has required increasingly complex code trickery to make the WordPress dashboard work in the IE 6 browser, which was introduced 10 years ago and does not support current web standards.”
WordPress is just the latest in a long list of sites that have abandoned IE 6, including Gmail, YouTube, Basecamp and hundreds of others.
Indeed you’d be hard pressed to find a web developer who wants to keep supporting IE 6. Even Microsoft has set up a website that essentially dances on the grave of IE 6 (after WordPress announced it would drop IE 6, Microsoft actually said “thank you WordPress“).
However, according to Net Applications, IE 6 still has almost 12 percent user share worldwide. In the U.S. the number is just under 3 percent, but in China it’s still nearly 35 percent.
Compounding the problem are the number of corporate intranets that require IE 6. Microsoft is hard at work trying to convince large corporations to upgrade — if you’re still using IE 6, that means you haven’t upgraded to Windows 7, which is Microsoft’s real goal with the kill IE 6 campaign — but for Microsoft’s biggest customers, upgrading means investing millions of dollars in new infrastructure.
While developers may enjoy dropping IE 6 because of its subpar support for web standards, for end users that’s generally not a concern. What is, or at least should be, the bigger concern for users is that IE 6 is less secure.