Category: developers journal

Why the IE6 will not die

Author: Daemon August 12, 2009

In the last couple of months there was a lot of talk about killing IE6 in multiple ways. Some high reach websites are talking about, and some of the biggest websites are directly telling people to switch to newer browser if they come with IE6.

However, even with all this pressure from developers and big websites, it is super-unlikely that IE6 will die until Microsoft decides that enough is enough and stops officially supporting IE6. This could mean that maybe they could force your Windows to silently download an upgraded Internet Explorer and just forcefully install it. Until that happens, IE6 will live on.

Apart from all the corporate mumbo-jumbo about big companies having hard time upgrading thousands of computers to newer IE, there is another huge reason why IE6 will not die:

We, the developers, continue to find ways to support IE6 in one way or another. Let’s face it, a good web development company will always have an IE6 “version” of a site. That’s it. And as long as we build sites that work on IE6, even in downgraded version, people will have no reason to upgrade.

You could say now “Well, but if they had upgraded browser, they would see a much more beautiful and functional website”. But I say to that: you are a fool. We, the developers, know how the site looks under modern browser, and how it looks under old browser. A user coming in with IE6 only sees the downgraded version, but to that user THAT version is the only one. The user has no clue that there is a better version.

Facebook will warn you that you have IE6, but you can just ignore/close that warning block, and continue to use it.

If we as developers wanted TRULY to kill IE6 we should completely stop supporting it. Coming to a Facebook with IE6 should give you a blank window with warning and HUGE buttons do download Firefox/Chrome or upgrade IE. Until you do that – no Facebook for you. Same goes with Youtube, Twitter, and all the other hard hitters.

I know that this has issues of lowering the visitor count, but the big players should at least do this for a period of one week, or at least a couple of days.

Because, as it is now, users have absolutely no reason to upgrade from IE6. All the websites work good under it.

Also, we are doing our part too:

Vudu small

On the same day I wrote this post, John Nack (Adobe) wrote on his blog that Adobe will, starting from next Creative Suite, be INTEL ONLY on Mac (Intel and AMD on PC). Yes kids, that is right, Mac Power PC platforms and all of those older shit-systems are out. Just like that. Adobe will make no workarounds or hacks to get the software to work on old systems, even if that means the loss of few percent of general population.

And I respect and support that fully, and wish that more software and webdev companies started following the same principle – if it is old, just trash it into the can.

Web Burza, one of the great web development companies in the region (respect!) recently decided to drop IE6 support from their main development cycle. IE6 support will remain as a service they offer, but only as a side service (and you understand that this directly means that IE6 support will cost clients more). GO GO GO!


    12 thoughts on “Why the IE6 will not die”


    Most IE6 users don’t have a choice in using IE6. All you would do in not even supporting them is ask the user to use a good browser when they get home from work or to not see your site at all.

  • Orta: yes, exactly, by not seeing the site the user would be forced to somehow install new browser. Either by himself, or by asking administrator to do it.

    Also, Digg will drop support for fancy functionality for IE6 users. They will be able to browse the site, but will not be able to log in and to do anything “complex”.

    Furthermore, the IE6 population is only ( “only” ) 10% of the overall Digg population. Even if Digg TOTALLY blocks IE6 users out by giving them the blank screen and “upgrade your browser” message they would not lose that much. Next, IE6 population does only less than 2% of Digg activity – Digging, Burying and Commenting. LESS THAN 2%!

  • Couple of weeks ago, I had a chat with one large corporate client of ours regarding IE6 support for current project we have been working on for them. It turns out that their whole worldwide corporation still uses IE6 without any plans to upgrade any time soon.

    Alongside that project, I talked to the client about doing some Facebook promotion, and client told me that FB campaign wont work for them because they all are banned from using Facebook. I thought “Nice, corporate policy is against employies loosing time on Facebook, I like that!”. I guessed that they banned facebook with some sort of traffic management filtering device. Nor I, not my contact was not aware that Facebook is blocking IE6.

    So my conclusion was – corporate (business) users don’t have time to think why some site doesn’t work (is it due to their company internet access security policy or site stopped supporting that particular browser they are using).

    By removing IE6 support, you will lose those visitors and if you target those particular visitor segment, your project will fail.

  • Since we are all working in the consumer oriented market, there is really no point in approaching this problem from a product point of view.

    The solution would be to transfer the responsibility to clients, and make them decide (provided they have all the necessary info) about how they want to treat their users/consumers. The fact remains that optimizing for IE6 is a big production problem, and raises the cost of the final product.

    The cost /time needed for optimization should be calculated by each client separately, depending on their target. This way we could lower the cost for those who have no interest in supporting my grandmas old PC, and still offer the service to those that depend on it (governments, education, etc..).

    Need to upgrade your computer? You’ll find the older RAM chips are more expensive than new ones.

    Why? Because time travel is expensive!

  • LOL! I want this on my bumpersticker: “Time travel is expensive!” :)

    BTW, this is how IE6 will die – :)

  • huey?! many, many…too many years there were too many windows-fanbois argumented against the freedom of choice-…aginst firefox, safari,opera (the real standard!).
    IE6 are standard? what? remember the brother wright…”sorry, biplanes are standard. we won’t develop any new one!”.
    if any company says, we’re online with IE6, they’re not really online. for these companies, the web isn’t any business…and that companies are NOT our business (because they don’t spend money for any)!!
    KILL IE6!

  • I work for one of the “big 3” web design companies in Malta. We’ve just taken the same route as web.burza and discontinued standard support for IE6. No longer do we have to deal with the ‘hackz’ just to get a website to look the same. No more PNGFIX (well we’ll still use it cos it’s not like it does any harm)!

    In the next couple of weeks we’ll be launching our largest website so far, with full ‘We hate IE6’ support :)

  • Well i can speak for myself, i will not be supporting IE6 for client works starting 1st January 2010.

    Actually i thought to implement this starting of 2009 but that felt early. But 2010 is high time we do this.

  • Ok check this out –

    Google built plugin for Internet Explorer which integrates chrome into it. Google hates IE so much, it decided to help MS for free. :)

  • actually in my opinion ie has been better than firefox for more than a year… i dont know why everyones just saying ff is better…

  • Great post, I will be sure to bookmark this in my Clipmarks account. Have a awesome evening.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *