Skip to main content

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.

  • bitterman0
    While the backward compatibility argument is compelling, I don't believe that it holds water. There's orders of magnitude less incompatibility between different IE versions than between any given IE and FF or anything else.

    IMO, the reason behind IE6 longevity is rather simple - it's the brain-dead "genuine windows advantage" program that refuses installation of IE7 on XP if the latter is deemed pirated. Most of the XP installations in China are pirated, there's very little doubt about that. So there you have it.

    Microsoft shot itself in the foot and now they don't know what to do. Perhaps, they should blame pirates again.
    Reply
  • RipperjackAU
    bitterman0IMO, the reason behind IE6 longevity is rather simple - it's the brain-dead "genuine windows advantage" program that refuses installation of IE7 on XP if the latter is deemed pirated. Most of the XP installations in China are pirated, there's very little doubt about that.
    Indeed. The only way Micro$haft is going to break China off it's addiction to IE6 is to drop all that WGA rubbish in Windows XP and allow dodgy copies of the OS to upgrade to IE8... since we all know you need Vista and up to get IE9.

    Then again... the Chinese can just go with another browser.
    Reply
  • pclee
    Pirated versions of XP are not a problem. Chinese hackers got around the "genuine Windows advantage" program a long time ago. The fact that IE6 has 34.5% market share in a country with more internet users than the population of the United States means something else is wrong. I'm thinking the big issue might be the thousands of Internet Cafes in the country running outdated equipment. The "Wang Ba" (Internet Cafe) is disappearing as home computers and internet access become more affordable, but its going to take a long time. Fact is that cyber cafes don't need the latest version of IE for users to run most of the internet games they like to play (ie CS, QQ games, and the latest Korean or Japanese gaming craze). So as long as users are willing to pay the very low cost of going to the internet cafe (about $1 a day in some places) and are not complaining about the computers having the latest version of IE, then the owners feel no need to spend time upgrading.
    Reply
  • nebun
    people, just embrace technology.....it's not that hard to do
    Reply
  • BulkZerker
    Nebun, are you steve jobs in disguise?

    Pc lee hit pclee hit thr nail on the d
    Reply
  • BulkZerker
    Hit the nail on the heaf with probably 1/2 the issue, net cafes.

    The other half is of course buisnesses using IE6 as some sort of prompt for some custom db bullshift. But that's corperate wolr for you. Don't make things flexible, use the first solution that comes along, not the best solution. They need to take a page from militaries and just offer a contract for the best product.
    Reply
  • megamanx00
    Kill it with fire
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    ie6 cant die till xp dies.
    Reply
  • LePhuronn
    Doesn't bother me now - I'm killing IE6 within my own little circles and within my own circle of influence.

    I just refuse to code for IE6, unless there is an exceptionally good reason and/or I'm paid a "legacy support" premium.

    You'd be surprised how effective it is to just have a conversation with a client/prospective client, explain the situation, explain your reasoning and let them make a choice. I've even had one client kick their It department up the ass and force IE8/FireFox and Flash 10 adoption because they just didn't realise.
    Reply
  • dark_lord69
    Children's Hospitals and Clinic's of MN still use IE6... All because the haven't kept up with testing the new versions.
    Reply