It seems that every day that goes by, another one of the user interface developers that I work with talks about how Internet Explorer 6 must die. Granted, they have plenty of justification for why this browser should go away. For example, Internet Explorer (aka, IE6) is “ancient” — it was released in late 2001 (source). It has serious security flaws (source) and Microsoft has moved on to release IE7 and IE8. But there’s a problem that non-developers seem to be ignoring.
While IE6 usage dropped significantly in early 2008/2009, the downward pressure has softened quite a bit this year. And a recent survey revealed that IE6 is used primarily at work and the majority of people unfortunately can’t upgrade/replace IE6 because they have insufficient privileges on their machines/their company won’t let them upgrade (source). So without significant force now, it may take another two years before IE drops to a level where enough developers stop coding UI tweaks for IE6. Since coding for IE6 takes significantly more time, marketers are unnecessarily spending money on outdated technology (like paying for a telephone land line or dial-up internet service).
Last week, six solid punches in one swing were taken at IE6. I am speaking about the announcement that Google is planning to phase out support for IE6 (source). The announcement indicated that key functionality in Google Docs and [international] Google Sites will be disrupted starting on March 1, 2010. Since no other popular web destination is stepping up to the plate, we’ve got to applaud Google which owns 6 of the top 20 destination on the web (source) for their efforts. So what we really need to do is convince several US-based companies, such as Microsoft (thank you @cubanx!), Yahoo! and Amazon, and Chinese companies, including Baidu, QQ.com and Sina.com.cn, to jumped on board. While it may feel like we’ve made progress, the short list below demonstrates that we still have a long road ahead of us.
Top 20 Companies that don’t support the IE must die movement:
- Google (starting 1-Mar-2010)
- Facebook (as of 24-Jul-2008)
- YouTube (starting 1-Mar-2010)
- Windows Live
- Blogger.com (starting 1-Mar-2010)
- Yahoo! Japan
- Google India (starting 1-Mar-2010)
- Google China (starting 1-Mar-2010)
- Google Germany (starting 1-Mar-2010)