image Its funny I’m writing on something I was talking against just 3 days ago. At a presentation I was giving at a local event last Saturday, I said that Internet Explorer (6 & 7) are dead as a browser because they lack web standards and make our (well at least us developers’) lives hard.

I didn’t say that because of any hatred for Microsoft – in fact most would easily categorize me as a Microsoft fan boy. I’m saying that because it is a widely accepted truth. And major websites are now beginning to drop support for the 8 year old Internet Explorer 6. So why can’t Microsoft just drop the browser support and force users to upgrade to the latest (much better) Internet Explorer 8?

The one word answer is Commitment. Here is what Microsoft had to say on the official IE blog:

Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product. We keep our commitments. […] As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Ultimately, the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC.

And why that particular person can’t upgrade? Well according to Microsoft, the answer lies in a recent survey by Digg.


About 69% of the people who responded said that they can’t upgrade because they aren’t allowed to – this includes not having administrative access to the computer or because of an organizational policy.

Since organizations are reluctant to upgrade their OS from Windows XP to Vista (or Windows 7), the possibilities of a browser upgrade are also slim – even though the users actually want to.

In my opinion, we have Vista to blame here too. If those organizations had upgraded to Windows Vista, those people would have at least moved to Internet Explorer 7. Hopefully things would change with the release of Windows 7, and the end of Windows XP support lifetime. Maybe then we can look forward to a more standard compliant web.

Oh and I would like to know when did you stop using IE6, and what version of IE do you use now (if any)?