Strong opinions, weakly held

The real end of IE6

Web developers have hated Internet Explorer 6 for a long time. If you design Web sites or write Web front end code, you know all too well how much work it is to support IE6 on all but the simplest Web sites. What we’ve recently learned is that IE6 is much more insecure than its successors, and now Microsoft admits that IE6 has security holes that they cannot fix.

Getting rid of the last vestiges of IE6 is going to require a three pronged attack. IT departments that still require it are going to have to be educated on the security risks of sticking with it. Or, more likely, the executives who have the power to tell the IT department what to do are going to have to be educated. I imagine that in the near future, we’re going to see a lot of IE6-remediation work. Web applications that support only IE6 are going to have to be upgraded so that IE6 can be abandoned.

Users who haven’t upgraded due to indifference are going to have to be made to suffer. Web sites need to start dropping support for IE6. When sites like Facebook and YouTube no longer support IE6, those users will upgrade Internet Explorer or find another browser.

And finally, Microsoft is going to have to take more steps to induce users to upgrade. Microsoft has waffled on phasing it out completely to placate companies with applications that depend on IE6, but it seems like today is the day that policy has to be revised.


  1. This can’t come soon enough for me! Im a web developer and i am constantly having to work websites for IE6 because thats what the customer uses. They often don’t understand that its a compromise between looking good OK in IE6 and looking right in all other browsers. Which the majority uses. The sooner its forgotten the better!

  2. Y2K had the advantage of having a hard deadline, so affected companies had to take it seriously. With IE6, there’s always been some “out.” What’s odd is the degree to which Microsoft enables and encourages the foot-dragging.

  3. Though I agree that IE 6’s usefulness is at its end, it does bring about some nostalgic moments… I guess we really have left the world of Geocities, animated gifs, and frames behind us 🙁

    On another matter, what does this mean for the Zen CSS Garden? Isn’t the site largely based on support for browsers that the “majority” uses? I mean, that majority now uses more modern browsers, so how will the Garden change? Will styles focus on newer standards, such as CSS 2/3/etc? It’ll be a drag if I never got to contribute a useful design to it 😛

  4. Microsoft won’t drop support for IE6 for one reason: market share. Their fear is that if they drop support for IE6, and IE6 users are forced to adopt something new, that choice will be a non-Microsoft browser. Statistics have shown that, as IE8 usage has increased, IE6 and IE7 use has decreased proportionally, while Firefox has maintained their leadership market share.

    When Google introduced Chrome, you could watch the monthly broswer stats and see the migration from IE browsers (mainly IE7) to Chrome.

    I think it’s 100% a purely a market share issue. They’ve lost the browser war and they’re trying to hang onto whatever market share they can.

    It’s that simple.

  5. As a web designer IE6 can be the bane of my life. But alot of people still use it – clients included. So it will continue to be an important consideration when it comes to developing sites. Although I think recently people are becoming more aware of the choice of browsers through Microsoft having to offer a choice and the introduction of Google Chrome. This can only be a positive thing… although IE7 isn’t exactly perfect.

  6. Please! The final death of IE6 can’t come too soon for me.

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