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Microsoft keeps IE6 Life-Support Machine Switched On Until 2014
Will support it till 2014

 12:23 am on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)


Microsoft has underlined support for its Internet Explorer 6 web browser, despite acknowledging its flaws.

The software giant said it would support IE6 until 2014 - four years beyond the original deadline.

Critics - some of which have started an online campaign - want the eight-year-old browser mothballed because they claim it slows the online experience.



 2:37 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

wow, didn't think this would be such a hot topic. :)

I would love it if a big site such as youtube went "text only" on IE6...text only with a "download chrome" button. That would put the cat among the pigeons real fast and I'm guessing MS policy would change in a flash.


 2:45 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

wow, didn't think this would be such a hot topic

I consult to a Web development company and they are VERY frustrated towards IE6.


 2:48 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are still too many machines which aren't even running XP!

Those running windows versions older than XP are on my biggest site: <2% of windows users. I'm ready to drop them if needed.
But there's more than 12% of IE users still on IE6, so the OS excuse isn't valid for the vast majority of IE6 users.

They have an option to upgrade away from IE regardless of Microsoft offering them IE8 or not as well as other choices for an OS (even on their current hardware).


 3:02 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Writing as someone who has done desktop support and has taught newbie computer users, I think a schism has developed between those who work in the field of Web technology and the vast majority of those who are just trying to use the web to get things done to the best of their ability and with what their wallets will allow.
The arrogance, condescension, intolerance, and sense of self-importance I sometimes see displayed is depressing.


 3:10 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Because it's as busted as it gets in the CSS game ..

very sweeping statement there iBill, intended to provoke as ever I presume ;)

CSS has always ever only been a suggestion to the browsers about how to render content, it is not a developers "control" mechanism. You should not be relying on it for any form of total x-browser compliance.

It is completely possible to develop a site for IE6 and then ENHANCE for other browsers/UA's using CSS alone and then if you really want to you can add some javascript to 'help' those who can or choses to support it too.

The ".. broke in IE6" type questions we get here are usually very easily solvable, and sometimes they are simply misinformed as we're giving out validation answers to this day. And as said before IE7 is much the same as IE6 anyway so a lot of the so called "issues" are still present.

The main problems come from uninformed companies/developers who still insist/want their users to have a completely identical user experience across browser, they want to be in total control. It used to be the same with "pixel perfect" designs, but I hope at least designers/developers can educate against that particular myth as they did with the first one.

The difference here is with Web Applications, You Tube, Twitter, Digg.. etc. They are not the same as News, Bank, Government style information sites. They are allowed to decide the level of support for their applications, audiences just as well as Microsoft is allowed to support theirs.

I can actually imagine a lot of companies sticking with IE6, not only because of existing software but now in order to help ensure their staff cannot "waste" company time socialising, especially if their business does not actually rely on any of said social sites/applications function. Perhaps that is their intention with this extended support?


 3:38 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

While I agree with SuzyUK above, the use it as an extra, and don't fix for what IE6 does wrong isn't all that easy in some cases.

I had a customer who didn't care all that much about IE, as long as the info was accessible it was OK. So I could use pre-CSS3 to have rounded corners and the like. And IE will fall back to square corners.

But when it came to the drop-down menu: it still had to work and well IE6 doesn't do :hover on <li>'s, (and a whole truckload of other problems), many of them are fixed by just droppin in IE7.js
But in the menu I had also to work around the spurious stacking contexts IE6 introduces as it meant the menu would disappear under an absolutely positioned box on one of the pages (of course the index page ...).

'm still even with the most open minded customer forced to think about IE6, IE7 and IE8 as separate browsers each with their own set of quirks, bugs and lack of support.
If there's a chance to get the worst of them out of the picture It will make a difference.


 4:02 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

The funny part... The "web 2.0" online campaign against IE 6 is probably not viewable in IE 6... ;-)


 5:16 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

As a government, we develop for all visitors as a matter of principle, for equity reasons. As a practical matter, we had 17.2% of visits in IE 6 last month across a broad sample of sub-domains that served over 1mm visits... it would be foolish to cut service to this constituency.

Since IE 7 requires an OS upgrade that could create a financial and technical burden for Microsoft customers, I'm happy that the company will continue to support their browser, despite its non-standard rendering and development hassle it creates for us. It goes with the job.


 5:26 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Since IE 7 requires an OS upgrade

What still somewhat widely in use (let alone still supported) version of windows needs an upgrade to run IE7 ?

Even IE8 is an option for 98% for the windows users out there ...


 5:55 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good point swa, thanks.

Windows 2000 and NT -- per our data that's only about 2.5% of visits, roughly the number you cited. This suggests that about 85% of ie6 users could upgrade browser without upgrading OS (or they're some other javascript-enabled UA set with an IE6 ID).


 6:41 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

One of the clients we develop sites for is one of the top 20 global brands, with over 100,000 staff using the web. Their IT guys dictate which browser the staff use - and its IE6! I don't like IE6 - but what does that have to do with reality? We develop for the audience not for the developers.

JAB Creations

 8:03 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

kapow, tables are intended for TABULAR DATA!

Any one who knows how to properly program CSS knows not to apply anything but float and width properties to parent divisible elements!

<div id="left_parent"><div id="left_child"></div></div>
<div id="right_parent"><div id="right_child"></div></div>

#left_parent {background-color: #f00; float: left; width: 80%;}

#left_parent #left_child {background-color: #0ff; margin: 4px;}

#right_parent {background-color: #00f; float: left; width: 20%;}

#right_parent #right_child {background-color: #ff0; margin: 4px;}

Even IE4 and Opera 4 are capable of displaying that code correctly so tables are not an excuse for any one who knows how to do their job.

The issue isn't about layouts any more, it's about other aspects of a page such as the lack of the hover pseudo-element support in IE6 that others have mentioned.

- John


 10:28 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

With 18% IE6 visitors on my sites (52.6% total IE share) I don't mind about web standards written by bureaucrats from behind their desks. For me the web standards are those dictated by the visitors and if the majority is using Internet Explorer, that is the standard to develop for.


 10:36 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

The major browser companies each have an important presence at the W3C - it's not just bureaucrats sitting at desks. The W3C grew fills a real need for the web and the browser makers all know it. Before the W3C put on their pants, we had innovation, yes -- but we had serious chaos, too.

JAB Creations

 10:38 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

...and that's the atrocious attitude people who make progress have to fight against. When will these people get replaced by people who know web standards are set by the W3C and not Microsoft?

- John

azn romeo 4u

 10:54 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

I find the argument about table layouts to be somewhat "pointless" and egotistical. IMO simplicity is dying on the web. All these web designers want to make sites flip and flop all over the screen. Really is that needed?

I can use tables to create a nice layout that has form and function...doesn't need to be all hi-tech.

My websites still cater to about 13-20% ie6 users...blocking them would be the dumbest thing in the world. Why would I want to do that for some web designers that got griped about IE6 and microsoft?

You ever try to open 5-20 tabs with all these 2.0 websites with ajax and jquery all over the place? Freezes up the damn computer.


 11:02 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

When will these people get replaced by people who know web standards are set by the W3C and not Microsoft?

Never ..or as near to it as makes no difference ..
Incredibill also knows this as does swa66 ..and others such as myself and most of those who have posted ..however ..

We are all older and jaded ( old farts )..and have learned how the world works ..and in particular that it is easier to let battles be fought by the young ..

All of us are "romantics" ( look up all the "senses" of that word ..before dismissing my use of it ) ..but give it a few years ( in your life both on and off the net ..) and you'll realise that the time spent encouraging or watching the younger generation fight your battles by proxy ..can be spent reading Don Quixote :)

"forward they cried from the rear" ( P floyd )..strikes me as relevant ..:))

and yes I loath IE6 with a hatred that only celts can reach ..but as long as some sites which make money so that I can walk away from the keyboard and do something real like ..talk to my son or play with the dog or walk in the sand by the sea ..depend on checking for what the non geeks still use ..then I'll make sure that pages work more or less in it ..and I'd rather paint watercolours ( in the time gained by having sites that work ..more or less in IE "whatever" ) than fret about my "rounded corners" displaying on some sheeples browser ..or not ..

When it stops being fun and gets "evangelical" ..WC standards and all .."browser wars" over "design" ( and I'm over 35 years into living from "design" ) then it's time to switch off and go walk the dog ..or make dinner ..or whatever ..because 90% of your visitors ..dont give a **** about your rounded corners ..or not.

and they are right ..

there are way more important things in life :)


 11:43 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

The thing is, without IE6, for the most part, coding to the html spec means it'll work in all the browsers, save for a few minor nuances. And the DOM and CSS support is getting better with each new IE release.

As soon as you have to support ie6, all bets are off, and your nice neat code base becomes filled with junk.

I'm not a designer, but I am an application developer, who has to write large applications for our vendors and clients to do business with us.

We don't even support IE6.

Our customers, vendors and clients, either upgrade their version of IE, get FF, or they don't do business with us.

It costs more for us to try and add functional support for IE6, than we lose in business.

And when you're doing a lot of database and work over the web all that "ajax crap" is a huge time and thus, money saver.

When your online app, works as good and as fast as a desktop app, all the way from china, that is good.

Because upgrading your windows apps on machines in China, from North America isn't exactly fun.

Deploy once...the beauty of web applications.


 11:56 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi there peeps,

surely this would keep everyone happy...

[quote][blue]<!--[if !lte IE 7]><!-- -->
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="[/blue][red]modern_browser.css[/red][blue]">

...wouldn't it. ;)

Or if your feeling really devilish how about...

[quote][blue]<!--[if !lte IE 8]><!-- -->
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="[/blue][red]no_gates_at_all.css[/red][blue]">



 12:29 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

In the words of Tim Berners-Lee [anybrowser.org]
"Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed with Browser X' label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network."

Browsers don't matter. HTML and CSS don't matter - only people matter. I don't tell my users what browser to use, because my sites are not about browsers.

"Graceful degradation" is the only way to go if you can't support IE6 fully. Check out the Bing home page in IE6 - same layout and image, no hotspots or mouseover effects - but the main functionality of the page is intact. Has it come to a time when it takes Microsoft to show us how to do things properly?


 12:29 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

As usual the conversation has devolved into the designers v browser compatibility. At some point (my opinion) you deal with the users. I don't code for exotic gimmicks... KISS. Works for me. YMMV.

As for my commercial clients, I always suggest there is a point of diminishing return for the fancy... at some point their site will not be visible to a statistically significant number of users. And a resulting potential loss of income. Find the sweet spot, is the suggestion.


 12:32 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

The thing I see from the youtube situation is they're already a money losing operation with humongous traffic, so Google wouldn't lose serious revenues by nagging a certain percentage of its visitors, because it stand to gain if people upgrade (especially Chrome), with the development of their online applications such as gmail, google docs, etc. which seems to be their real current interest. It's probably a smart move in the long term. Google's interests coincide with web developers interests.


 1:12 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

This thread is a lot of whining and fist-pounding because IE6 is a pain. Yeah, it is a pain. So what? Pushing people out because they have IE6 is NOT the way to do business.

My site works in IE6. It doesn't work perfectly..there's a couple spots here and there where an image doesn't perfectly line up, etc. But it still works. People, it really isn't that difficult to design a site that at least works in IE6. It doesn't have to be perfect, but to say "Go away until you get this browser" is insane. You're just throwing away traffic out of lazyness.

Yes, IE6 is awful. We can sit here and complain about it all day or we can make some site adjustments and fix the problem so we don't just throw away IE traffic as well.


 1:40 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Pushing people out because they have IE6 is NOT the way to do business.

My dad used to push people out in the summer from his business with "NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE" and IE 6 is about the equivalent to "NO SHIRT" on the web, at least not a shirt with rounded corners ;)

This thread made me go back and I checked how much IE 6 contributes to my bottom line each month and it's low enough that at 13% it won't make me cry if I block them all.

It's a viable decision to make, one that won't break the bank, versus the decision to spend a bunch of time and money to maintain compliant support, kind of a wash.

"Go away until you get this browser" is insane.

Many sites already say "Go away until your get the latest Flash" so why is a free browser upgrade any different?

We cannot make PROGRESS in furthering the evolution of the web while we're being forcibly shackled to the past by people that won't install upgrades.

Perhaps those people that don't/won't/refuse to upgrade should be relegated to only those last remaining websites compatible with their browser full of dancing hamsters.

The latest wave in browsers is bringing the capability of creating fully powered desktop-style apps to the web yet we're being hobbled from making this next evolutionary
leap by all the hold-outs slowing our move forward.

Euthanasia is simply long overdue for an 8 year old browser and it's time to let the upgrade laggards fade into oblivion just like the final Netscape wielding neanderthals.

it is easier to let battles be fought by the young

But not nearly as much fun as waging the battle yourself nor the thrills of victory.

FYI, I have some new web software I'm working on that is fully CSS and AJAX and only supports FF 3+, IE 7+, Chrome and Safari so I'm putting my money where my mouth is as it simply doesn't work in the older browsers and I simply don't care because it would cost too much time and money to worry about the older browsers.

That's how I'm taking a stand, building something compelling to use that isn't backwards compatible whatsoever, forcing evolution.


 1:58 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Many sites already say "Go away until your get the latest Flash"

I would love an all flash web :)..browser style chrome on the players ( dispense with browsers )..that would be something sensible to expend energy upon ..a worthy fight ..

But rendering engines and text pages ( visual cripware )that at best let one see one eyed through a glass darkly ..thats what's really holding back communication ..

text is for typographers ..a species known for it's lack of imagination and it's restrictions ..

I would rather my corners be transformable on the fly ..moving and vectored and even talking and dancing kalaiedoscopically ..( but then I have hazy memory of the sixties ..;)..30 years on ..

'sides which balmer only announced this to get the nerd focus back on MS and way from plextual "architecture" .."aunt sally" ring any pavlovian bells ?


 8:23 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Boy all you kids get quite excited.

Simple solution:

Your site doesn't render well in IE6? Then:

a) "Don't worry, it's our I/me/us [deliberate or otherwise for us IE6 users] bad luck for us and we won't enjoy all your innovations. All your brilliant efforts at CSS or whatever".

Actually the only crashes I ever see come from third-party code. Advertisers wedded to Flash or whatever.

Does it really matter to you? We won't see all your munificent efforts, who really cares?, our browser simply crashes. Our tough luck.


b) If we're a significant percentage of your traffic and that matters to you then you already know the answer or if you had brains then you should.

Get over it, make a choice, but cut out the garbage of "Boycott, Denial of Service". Boo Hoo! Dopey surfers won't bend to your will.

Mount compelling arguments in your favour!

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how an estimated all up $2,000 expenditure is going to improve my "internet experience".

When you can produce a cogent argument, I'll listen.


 8:38 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, I forgot to add.

Back in 1958 when I was a teenager. One slogan always reigned "supreme"

The customer is always right

Learn from it 50+ years later.


 8:59 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

All US TV viewers now get a digital signal whether they like it or not and they had much less than 8 years of continual notice for the final upgrade.

ALL US Browsers could be forced to IE 7+ just as easily whether they like it or not.

The customer is always right

Not true.

When faced with unreasonable customers I've given (or threatened to give) them their money back and walk away because they haven't paid enough to make me deal with unreasonable people.


 9:52 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why does no one talk about security when it comes to IE6?

Granted, no Internet Explorer version is particular safe from a securty point of view but IE7 is a great deal safer than IE6.

Now I know some of you won't take my word for it so I won't try but you have to take Eric Lawrence's word for it! Why? Because Eric Lawrence is Microsoft's IE Security Manager, that's why.

Here's what Eric has to say on the matter (taken from a response as to why Microsoft are extending support for IE6):
"Putting customers at risk isn't an option," Lawrence said on the IEInternals blog. "Having said that, we work hard at evangelizing new browser releases and getting folks to upgrade. While we still support IE6, there's no question that users on IE8 will have a more secure, reliable, and performant [sic] experience."

(Ok, Eric mentions IE8 but IE7 is still valid an example.)

Yes, my number one reason for wishing IE6 users would upgrade is because I'm a website developer and as with many aspects of life, I believe it is often best to keep with the newest verins of something where possible.

But lets not forget that unlike IE7 -> IE8, IE6 doesn't seem to have an autp update notification. I could be wrong with that, it's been a LONG time.

IE6 support is being extended because it is so insecure. Without the support, Microsoft would not keep patching new found flaws. Personally, I'm lost as to why Microsoft aren't doing more to advise their customers to upgrade for security issues rather than patching.

Ian, it will NOT cost $2000 to upgrade to IE7. IF IE7 won't run on Win98 then at most it will cost the equivelent of 55 to get xp. Maybe you'll need more RAM so add another 30 to that. Why should you spend the $70 (not sure of current exchange but that's close)? Because it might help prevent someone from stealing your bank details, pictures of your kids / grandchildren etc. And it would allow you improve your web experience. Of course, they're both choices. I'm not telling you to upgrade, I'm merely offering reasons why you might want to think about it.

Put it another way, I ride a motorbike. I refuse to ride my bike without my crash helmet. The helmets of 10 years ago I'm sure might still be ok but I'm not risking it. I "upgrade" my helmet every few years because I want to know that what ever I do, I do so as safely and as enjoyably as possible (new helmets are much lighter, more protection, less prone to misting etc.).

Black and white TV's still allow you to view tv shows? Have you "upgraded" to a colour tv? Why did you? Did it cost more than $70 in todays money? Bet it did but you did it anyway. Why? You didn't need to.


 12:05 pm on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

This argument brings us back to square one on why people are still using IE6 -- Microsoft.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom decided to continue to support an outdated browser.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom created a business model wherein users don't have any urgency to update their browsers.

The real villain you haters should be complaining about is not the end-users but the pusher -- MS.

I really don't worry about MS browsers too much as I use FF -- we tend to be a lot happier.

As far as IE6/IE7/IE8/FF stats go, check out this: [w3schools.com...]


 6:38 pm on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let's say you're a new start-up web design company and trying to do it all legal. How are you going to run IE6 legally when you can't buy a license from Microsoft for an OS that still comes with the obsolete browser ?

The Microsoft way is to make you download a time bombed image every so often, not a real long term easy solution. Buying a license on ebay, how do you know the key is still valid and they didn't "sell" the key a dozen times over putting you in murky water at best.

Similarly how will you do IE7 once Vista is gone from the inventory at the shops out there ? Ah more regular downloads of timebombed images: way to go!

IE6 and IE7 will need to die soon enough, as more and more sites and new web pages will never have been tested on it soon enough.

As far as taking it personal: I've never taken it personal against the users that they do not upgrade. But there are different kinds of users that did not upgrade:

  • There's the fanboys of IE6, for whatever -incomprehensible- reason: no mercy there.
  • There's the users stuck due to corporate control preventing them from upgrading: lots of sympathy, but they are the ones who need to protest against their IT departments, so they'll be victims in the end no matter what.
  • Then there's those who don't know any better. Maybe we need to show them the light at the end of the tunnel.

In the end it is indeed MSFT's problem and they should be held accountable. But it are those end users and IT departments who do push MSFT into continuing to supply patches for a bunch more years, and to continue to make blockers for preventing users from upgrading etc.

Till 2014 is far beyond reasonable in all objectivity.
2014: that's *WAY* beyond the lifespan of a machine bought to be old enough to even today be forced to run IE6.

The web needs to move on and every consecutive version of IE (6, 7 _and_ 8) are subsequently the biggest anchors holding back progress (like it or not, they are), and like it or not, the line will be cut at some point, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it will. And the more of us who do cut the line the sooner the rest of us webmasters will be free to do so.

This 71 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 71 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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