Microsoft: Dropping IE6 support not an option

By Justin Mann on August 11, 2009, 6:26 PM
Despite enthusiastic efforts around the world to move on to something better, IE6 is unlikely to go anywhere for a long time. Numerous alternatives exist, from Microsoft themselves, Mozilla and others, but while the software giant would like to see IE6 gone as much as anyone else it's still up to users to make the final decision to upgrade.

A post on the IEBlog touched on this topic recently and basically concludes that dropping IE6 support is simply not an option, for a variety of reasons. One of these includes the substantial user base that clings to the old browser, which still represents millions of web-connected users. Another and arguably more important reason is the commitment level Microsoft has to maintain.

They are stuck with the fact Windows XP shipped stock with IE6, and they have an obligation to continue supporting it for the lifetime of the product. That's a problem for Microsoft since extended support for Windows XP and thereby IE6 continues for another five years.

We're talking just Microsoft here, of course. Any other company around the world can choose to support whomever they wish YouTube will soon drop support for IE6, most web developers cater exclusively to IE7 or higher and many other sites are urging users to upgrade as well. Ultimately, IE6 will die, but it is clear that Redmond expects that death to be slow and painful.




User Comments: 15

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strategic strategic, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They are stuck with the fact Windows XP shipped stock with IE6, and they have an obligation to continue supporting it for the lifetime of the product. That's a problem for Microsoft since extended support for Windows XP - and thereby IE6 - continues for another five years.

This is true...

If it shipped with XP, they have to support it as long as they support XP.

I am amzed that they even made an attempt

Guest said:

YOU TUBE and its developers can go straight to ---- space! Most IE6 users will never upgrade based on You Tube ******! IE 6 is better browser than what MS is offering as an upgrade to XP users. Browser Competition exists because larger users see better products for XP users today and tomorrow! Example AOL has not upgraded its Default Browser - so why should the millions of users of AOL switch?

tengeta tengeta said:

If people want to be ridiculous and still use it, that's their choice. I'm sick of this "its a standard, so FORCE them to it".

A standard was made to help people collaborate with ease, not to force everyone to use it.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

Claiming that MS "HAS" to support IE6 for life is equivalent to suggesting they have to support Windows 3.1 or even "DOS" for life just because they once made it! Get a life folks and get a clue. I want Coke to bring back the original syrup formula but I won't hold my breath waiting for that either. Just because a company "ONCE" made something, doesn't mean they have to support it for the rest of YOUR life. They have the right to advance and evolve their product and move on from old versions.

Guest said:

DarkCobra, no offense but I think you missed the point.

MS would LOVE to discontinue support for IE6, same as they really wanted to shorten the life of XP.

Problem is with all XP's faults, it's the first OS Microsoft made that was pretty much bullet proof. At least from a coding stand point that is, malware and stupid user habit/mistakes is another story. I've used everything from 3.1 up and I had gotten used to the reformat-install grind that you HAD to do with all previous Windows (yes even 2000). XP on the other hand I've upgrade the boot HD on one machine 3 times, all I had to do was use a copy program to move XP to the new HD. Never a problem, come to think of it the install is all most 8 years old, even 98SE wasn't that good.

For that very reason many people are still using XP as their OS of choice. More importantly many enterprise users are sticking with XP and IE6, because quite frankly they have no need to move to a new OS. If you think that MS should only support XP and not IE6, it won't and can't happen.

First off, OS support is for the whole OS as it originally shipped and any updates released till the end of the products life. That's what the majority of users expect.

Secondly MS artificially tied IE tightly into Windows and it became a required part of the install, it's how it got such a large user base in the first place.

IMHO it'd be real hard for MS to try to sell that now IE6 isn't part of the original XP and because of that their dropping support. Man the fall out from that would be catastrophic for MS, I can just hear all the class action suits being filed. lol

Guest said:

They CAN discontinue IE6 support!!!!!!!Windows Update will update to the last version that is IE8 available for XP.If they using Windows Update then they will surely get it and if they don't and wanna be vulnerably and use an outdated browser **** THEM!

Move on cave mans!!!!!

mdeguzis said:

Wow @guest @7:18 p.m.

You are a complete *****. First why are you even using AOL or IE6 in the first place? AOL died long ago, even if its still clinging to life. Yes IE6 will be around for time to come, but because of ignorant naiive computer users such as yourself. Only archaic poorly coded software still requires IE6 such as the crap 5 -man team programmed software that unfortunatly our Hospital uses because its way cheaper than the 100,000 dollar alternative. Get a damn clue teenager.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

Reply to "Guest" who responded at 2:07am . . . I appreciate your comments but you are simply incorrect. The XP operating system is NOT in the least "exclusively" tethered to IE 6. I've been a programmer and web developer for decades and I must admit you gave me a great laugh in posting such a notion. You can indeed very much migrate to IE 7 or IE 8 or better yet Fire Fox or Chrome and run XP very well (actually much better).

Also, I would hardly say that XP is the first OS that MS made that is "bullet proof". If (as you claim) you've migrated from 3.1 all the way up as most of us have as well . . . then you should know that XP was beaten to death for a very long time as being evil incarnate by many! In time, MS was able to smooth things out and stabilize it and even now it still has it's share of problems as most of us are aware. It is anything BUT "bullet proof" and such a notion frankly doesn't even pass the laugh test. Had you made the statement that Windows 2000 was "bullet proof" i might be a lot less inclined to take that statement to task . . . but stating that XP is bullet proof is simply laughable and not worthy of further comment.

Finally, by your same logic we shouldn't migrate up from Word 6.0 either for the same convoluted logic! I'll say it again, at some point we've all got to let go of older operating systems AND older browsers. We are NOT anchored to either and anyone thinking you can't have an older OS without a specific corresponding older browser simply has no idea what they're doing or talking about.

Guest said:

People stick with IE 6 because IE 7 and IE 8 do not work. When I had IE 6 it worked fine although I liked Firefox better. Once I upgraded to IE 7 Internet Explorer it crashed all the time. I tried a dozen fixes and nothing works. I upgraded to IE 8 and had the same results. My IE 6 at work has no problems and I would be using IE 6 at times if it were easy to get although Firefox is better. After Bill Gates left Microsoft it brought out IE 7 and IE 8 and Vista and all of them are garbage, Either the people at Microsoft want to destroy the company by bringing out bad products or no one cares.

I just posted this on the IE message board.

Internet Explorer Doesn't Work and I Don't care.

I just uninstalled a program and the software company asked me why. Then I get a message that internet explorer went down and I realized that they use Internet Explorer as their default to send them messages. Internet explorer hasn't worked in years and because Internet Explorer is so unreliable everyone I knows uses Firefox. I'd post Microsoft but their site is a mess. I have been told how to make IE work all I have to do is reconfigure my computer well it isn't worth it because I don't like IE anyway

I will probably get a snippy message telling me to go to hell. All I am trying to do is help by giving feed back. When Bill Gates ran Microsoft people cared.

Badfinger said:

What is this Internet Explorer thingie?

Never heard of it!

At least use freeware Green Browser if scared to go away from IE.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

@Guest who responded at 4:42 AM . . . I totally agree with you that IE 7 and IE 8 were problematic for a lot of people (self included and I'm a FF user). However, the problem with IE 6 (and remaining with it) is that it has enormous gaping security holes that even MS has readily acknowledged and has in the strongest terms warning all end-users about the problem! Is IE 6 smoother than IE7 & 8? Yeah in some ways, or so it may seem. However, the devil within IE 6 is what you "CANNOT" see and those are the very serious security issues which MS could not patch or Hot-Fix away. MS continues to strongly warn everyone now that you use IE 6 at your own peril.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

They CAN discontinue IE6 support!!!!!!!Windows Update will update to the last version that is IE8 available for XP.If they using Windows Update then they will surely get it and if they don't and wanna be vulnerably and use an outdated browser **** THEM!

Move on cave mans!!!!!

A lot of corporate users can't use Windows Update because they are locked down by their administrator.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

SNGX1275 said:

They CAN discontinue IE6 support!!!!!!!Windows Update will update to the last version that is IE8 available for XP.If they using Windows Update then they will surely get it and if they don't and wanna be vulnerably and use an outdated browser **** THEM!

Move on cave mans!!!!!

A lot of corporate users can't use Windows Update because they are locked down by their administrator.

Then the "ADMINISTRATOR" needs to get off their butt and update the system! Duh. They're paid good money to "maintain" whatever system they have. "Maintaining" means keeping things working and current.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

DarkCobra said:

SNGX1275 said:

They CAN discontinue IE6 support!!!!!!!Windows Update will update to the last version that is IE8 available for XP.If they using Windows Update then they will surely get it and if they don't and wanna be vulnerably and use an outdated browser **** THEM!

Move on cave mans!!!!!

A lot of corporate users can't use Windows Update because they are locked down by their administrator.

Then the "ADMINISTRATOR" needs to get off their butt and update the system! Duh. They're paid good money to "maintain" whatever system they have. "Maintaining" means keeping things working and current.

One time the Admin may be unable to update it him/herself is if they use a web based program which requires IE6 or another older browser. I am unaware of any specific cases where this is true, although it seems plausible to me and a similar situation would be the online course management system does not yet support IE8, so I have to either use FF3 (which I do) or stick with IE7. this is also the case at my place of work for several web based programs. I also think this could be a development issue, or lack of, where vendors supplying web based programs do not supply, or require more money, for a newer version that would be compatible with newer browsers.

SUSHRUKH said:

Also, I would hardly say that XP is the first OS that MS made that is "bullet proof". If (as you claim) you've migrated from 3.1 all the way up as most of us have as well . . . then you should know that XP was beaten to death for a very long time as being evil incarnate by many!

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