Mourning the passing of a trusted companion can be tough to cope with but for Microsoft, there's reason to celebrate. To mark the demise of Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft baked a cake and popped open the proverbial champagne as IE6 usage in the US has dipped below 1 percent.

The sixth major revision of Internet Explorer, IE6 was initially released in August 2001 right around the time that work on Windows XP was being wrapped up. The browser lived a long and prosperous life but Father Time eventually caught up to IE6 and it became the butt of jokes worldwide.

In a recent blog post, director of Internet Explorer marketing Roger Capriotti admits that Microsoft has been as eager as anyone else to see IE6 fade away. In fact, Redmond even launched an IE6 Countdown site last March to help accelerate the process. The site has generated over 2.7 million visitors and 5.6 million page views in less than a year. That day has finally come as the US joins Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway in dropping below 1 percent usage of IE6.

Capriotti hopes that the trend continues in other parts of the world where developers and IT professionals can consider the product a low priority and stop wasting time supporting such an outdated browser. Naturally, he goes on to urge these users to move to a more modern browser like IE8 or IE9.