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Mozilla Gives Advice On How to Kill IE6

Microsoft's attempts to kill IE6 are almost comical at this point, with sites that track the decline of the usage of the browser (and user responses that track the rise of IE9.) Microsoft has good reason to eliminate IE6 usage, even if it is rather unlikely this will happen anytime soon - especially since users in China depend on IE6 (China's IE6 browser market share is at 34.5%, according to Net Applications).

However, Mozilla's Henri Sivonen, who developed the HTML5 parser for Firefox 4, has an idea what Microsoft "could do about IE6". He explains that IE users who depend on specific IE6 applications are unable to upgrade to IE7 and IE8 in many cases as some applications will simply not work and break in IE7. One problem for Microsoft is that lots of old apps need an IE6 mode and IE6 standards mode is not available in IE7, IE8 and IE9.

Sivonen noted that Microsoft could keep a standards mode for IE6 alive in IE and browser manufacturers could reverse-engineer IE and integrate IE6 support in their engines, which, however, is prohibitively expensive. His solution? "They could extract IE6 from Windows XP into a regular Win32 app, restrict it to accessing only hosts on an administrator-maintained list of hosts and make it available for free to anyone. This would enable the Win32 backward compatibility functionality on Windows 7."        

Is Microsoft likely to do that? No. Microsoft isn't giving up IE6 users to anyone without a fight. There is still a substantial number of IE6 users out there, which Microsoft hopes will upgrade to IE8/IE9.