Microsoft wants Internet Explorer 6 to die in the worst possible way, even launching a new Website that encourages users to migrate from the increasingly antiquated browser.
That Website, "The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown," uses data from analytics firm Net Applications to break down IE6 usage around the world. Despite its tiny market share in countries like the United States (2.9 percent) and Canada (3.3 percent), the browser holds a substantial portion of the market in much of Asia, including China (34.5 percent), South Korea (24.8 percent) and Japan (10.3 percent).
"The Web has changed significantly over the past 10 years," reads a note on the Website. "The browser has evolved to adapt to new Web technologies, and the latest versions of Internet Explorer help protect you from new attacks and threats." In other words, IE6 is too slow and vulnerable, on top of lacking the nifty features of more modern browsers.
In its desperation to kill IE6, Microsoft is encouraging users to spread the word about upgrading to a new browser. "Friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer 6," reads another missive on the Website. "And neither should acquaintances." Yet another page offers Website owners code for displaying a "You are using an outdated browser" banner to visitors using IE6.
Despite Microsoft's push, however, a number of users rely on IE6 as part of Windows XP, another legacy platform the company desperately wants the world to abandon in favor of Windows 7. Some enterprises and small to midsize businesses (SMBs) also depend on IE6 for older proprietary applications. That ensures a certain part of the market stays with the browser, despite the broader Web's determination to move on.
For those businesses still using IE6, Microsoft offers "migration workshops" designed to help them transition to a more modern browser. "Everything from how to tackle app compat issues to solutions for virtualizing IE 6 is available on the Internet Explorer TechCenter," Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer product marketing, wrote in a December 2010 posting on The Windows Blog.
Microsoft recently made available the Release Candidate for IE9. Available at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 40 languages, the RC incorporates more than 17,000 pieces of feedback, with an eye toward building on the IE9 beta's previous advances in performance and standards, user experience, and privacy and safety. Some 25 million beta testers played around with the beta.
Despite having dominated the browser market for years, Microsoft faces substantial competition from the likes of Mozilla's Firefox franchise and Google Chrome.