Microsoft Not Ready to Ditch Support for IE6 Yet
Article by George Norman
On 11 Aug 2009
Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) is an outdated web browser that is more trouble than it’s worth, and YouTube for example has long ago decided to leave it behind. But Microsoft on the other hand is not ready to ditch the 8-years old web browser just yet. Curious, because recently Microsoft seemed to have poured all its efforts into promoting IE8, the latest and so far best version in the IE lineup – there was the revised first run behavior, the ads staring Dean Cain, the Live Nation optimized IE8, support for 63 languages, the browser comparison chart, and the Browser for the Better campaign.

As you can see, Microsoft has gone through a great deal of effort to get users to switch to IE8, so why won’t the company just end support for IE6 already? The simple answer is this: as long as Windows XP is still supported, the company cannot drop support for IE6, no matter what your opinion on it is. IE6, in case you did not know this, is the browser that comes installed as default on Windows XP.

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Internet Explorer General Manager, Dean Hachamovitch, explains: “The engineering point of view on IE6 starts as an operating systems supplier. Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows [XP] for the lifespan of the product. We keep our commitments.”

Dean Hachamovitch explained that even though the Microsoft team wants the user to upgrade and leave IE6 behind, this is not always an option. For the home user, upgrading is as simple as clicking a few buttons – but this changes when it is not your home computer, but an organization’s PC (work computer). For an organization, it is vital that their business applications keep working on their IT infrastructure, and that takes priority over upgrading from IE6 to a newer version.

“Many PCs don’t belong to individual enthusiasts, but to organizations. The people in these organizations responsible for these machines decide what to do with them. These people are professionally responsible for keeping tens or hundreds or thousands of PCs working on budget. They balance their personal enthusiasm for upgrading PCs with their accountability to many other priorities their organizations have. As much as they (or site developers, or Microsoft or anyone else) want them to move to IE8 now, they see the PC software image as one part of a larger IT picture with its own cadence,” added Dean Hachamovitch

The bottom line is this: because so many PCs are running IE6, Microsoft has to provide support for the web browser until 2011, the time when Microsoft will drop support for Windows XP.



Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Windows XP
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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