When will Internet Explorer 6 die?

Oh how I wish Internet Explorer 6 would die. Maybe Microsoft putting a gun to the head of WindowsXP and pulling the trigger will do it. According to Net Applications Market Share stats for the quarter ended March, 2007, IE 6 still commands a 48% browser share.

Why do I long for its demise? Let’s take this blog for instance. I’ve horsed around with the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to get the blog container to have the white space in the body and the overall look-n-feel I want. I also extended the width of it past the 900 pixels typically found in Typepad’s CSS to 1,000 pixels. The header image you see above fits within that 1,000 pixel space perfectly and looks great on Firefox, Safari, Mozilla, Opera…but if you’re viewing this blog on IE6 you’ll see that there is a single pixel line of white space on the right side of the header graphic that sticks out like a sore thumb. There’s probably a workaround, but it’s an ancient (in Internet terms) IE6 problem that I’m unwilling to expend much effort to correct.

When I created Rise of the Participation Culture as a Web and PDF-based report, our Web tools generated PNG images that, unfortunately, IE6 can’t render!  We had to export each image separately as a JPG as well as request that my template producer create a JPG version of the template itself. What a pain in the butt.

Most people can turn on their computer and do a few things but downloading Firefox or even IE7 apparently isn’t in their skill sets (those links, by the way, take you right to the download sites for those browsers in case you’re reading this in IE6 and want to join the 52% of the computing world that’s up-to-date). This newbie nature is one reason that — even though propellerheads like me can get all goosey and enthusiastic about the latest-n-greatest technology — the average person could either care less or needs a lot of handholding to get and stay current.

Of course, this mass, functional technical illiteracy is one reason why our friends at Best Buy bought the Geek Squad and why it’s unlikely there will be significant push to sell the Macintosh’s they allegedly are rolling out to 200 stores. To do so would cut off the easy money the Geek Squad gets from a complex Windows operating system that newbies struggle with daily (and people that support their family would have with experiences like I did with my Dad).

Phew! That sounds like a huge rant and comes across really negative and dismissive of those in need of the kind of help I provide. It’s not intended to be such and I didn’t even get into all the security problems that still exist with IE6. I understand how hard this stuff is for people just wanting to do their job — instead of fool with the tool — and I empathize.

When I walk into companies or my local school district I realize that there are good reasons why upgrading — which costs money in hardware, software or the time to perform the upgrading — isn’t done routinely or what some of us think is even a modestly fast timetable. But upgrading a browser is such a drop-dead-simple thing to do (and it’s FREE) that pointing out to people why they should do so seems straightforward.

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  1. PXLated on April 14, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    IE itself should die. Even though IE7 has made progress over the previous versions, it still doesn’t comply with the full suite of web standards as Firefox and Safari do. It’s been the bane of web developers for almost ever.
    The PNG thing is especially annoying because there are so many things (from a design perspective) that one can do with their transparency but it takes a major hack to make it work in IE.
    Oh Oh, you managed to get my blood pressure up so I’ll stop ranting now 🙂

  2. ricky on June 2, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    As a new web developer I am often confused on what i can and cant use. The stuff i cant use seems easier to code and looks better, and the stuff i can use is harder. M$ needs to get a clue and put IE up to CURRENT web standards. I’m not saying IE should die, im just saying that they need to make it compatible with the newest web standards and such.

  3. Jason on October 28, 2007 at 2:26 am

    Dude I hear your pain. I manage over 100+ websites at my job and every customer I have views their website in IE6…and you can’t just tell them the browser sucks…because that will make you sound like a dumbass. It’s a battle that can’t be won…at least for now. It’s like Yugo created some car that everyone liked but royally sucked (technically)…and now every mechanic has to fix them and they hate everything about them…but have to bite their lip and deal with it because its the standard. Sorry kiddies…I wish their was a fix too…unfortunately we gotta ride this one out. I tell everyone I talk to to use firefox…thats my contribution…I feel eventually the world will get it.

  4. Dean on February 5, 2009 at 4:41 am

  5. Matt on February 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    It’s 2010 now, and ie6 still has a 20% market share. Sigh….

  6. Steve Borsch on February 17, 2010 at 6:44 am

    It’s really troubling, heh? With the Google & various company hackings that occurred — and the vector appears to be IE6 — there is even more of a concerted effort to kill it. Still, when I look at my various analytic stats for sites I run and own I’m still continually stunned at the volume of people who still use IE6. “Sigh” is right.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.