Campaign to Kill IE6 Gains Steam

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Weebly fields complaints daily from users who ask why one of its sites runs slowly. "'It's because you're running IE6,' we tell them," Rusenko said. " From our perspective, IE6 has to go."

Rusenko also had an answer ready for critics who contend that many IE6 users can't switch browsers because they're locked into the application at work. According to a survey conducted by Digg, for example, three out of every four IE6 users say that they can't drop the browser due to a workplace or technical reason.

"Even with that, we're getting support from all kinds of sites that are trying to get users to bring this to the attention of their [corporate] IT department," said Rusenko. "In IT, IE6 is like a running joke, so maybe this will make it a priority for IT to update their employees' browser."

Weebly's campaign against IE6 isn't trivial: Rusenko claimed that the sites that have signed up to use the anti-IE6 code represent 30 million monthly visitors.

Nor is the effort a crusade against Microsoft. "This isn't an anti-IE campaign, but it is an anti-IE6 campaign," Rusenko said. "It's clearly the worst browser out there. But Microsoft's made a ton of progress with IE8."

Even Microsoft tacitly agrees. The company has been pitching IE8 upgrades to IE6 and IE7 users on the consumer side since late April, and plans to promote the upgrade to corporate users on Aug. 25.

But Rusenko isn't naive; he recognizes that the anti-IE6 campaign will be long and hard. "Realistically, this is a long haul battle," he said. "It will be an ongoing type of fight."

Microsoft reacted to the anti-IE6 grassroots movement by implicitly acknowledging that IE6 was obsolete. "Microsoft has consistently recommended that consumers upgrade to the latest version of our browser," said a company spokeswoman."

But that doesn't mean Microsoft's ready to throw in the IE6 towel. As it has said repeatedly, it again today promised that it would support the aged browser for years. "While we recommend Internet Explorer 8 to all customers, we understand we have a number of corporate customers for whom broad deployment of new technologies across their desktops requires more planning," the spokeswoman added in an e-mail.

Microsoft has set the kill date for IE6 as April 8, 2014, when it wraps up support of Windows XP.

This story, "Campaign to Kill IE6 Gains Steam" was originally published by Computerworld.

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