It's rare that a company celebrates when one of its products bites the dust, but that's what Microsoft just did with the news that Internet Explorer 6 is essentially dead in the U.S. with less than 1 percent of market share. And they're no doubt celebrating in Redmond with the news that users are abandoning Windows XP in near-record numbers.
In a blog Roger Capriotti, Director of Internet Explorer Marketing, cited numbers from Net Applications showing that IE 6 usage in the U.S. has dropped below 1 percent. So the company baked a "Goodbye IE 6 cake" and posted a photo of it. Capriotti says that Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Ukraine, Portugal and the Philippines now all have less than 1 percent IE usage.
Why should Microsoft care? As Capriotti puts it:
"We hope this means more developers and IT Pros can consider IE6 a 'low-priority' at this point and stop spending their time having to support such an outdated browser."
That's not to say that IE 6 is dead everywhere. As Computerworld notes,
"Microsoft may not be pleased with that, but it should warm the hearts of people who worry about China outcompeting us -- if they're still using such an outdated browser in large numbers, they can't be as cutting-edge entrepreneurial as people fear."
Microsoft also has reason to celebrate the gradual demise of XP, the operating system that refuses to die. It has been such a stable, popular operating system, that the only way to get many people to stop using it would be to pry the computer on which it ran from their cold dead hands. Computerworld notes that Net Applications found that in December, Windows XP use dropped 2.4 percent, and now has a new low 46.5 percent market share as tracked by Net Applications.
Again, why should Microsoft care? If people are still using Windows XP, it means they haven't upgraded to a newer OS, which means lost revenue for Microsoft. And Windows XP represents a lot of lost revenue, because even though the operating system is more than 10 years old, it still has close to a 50 percent market share.
Here again, those who worry about China can take heart. Windows XP is on an astonishing 70 percent of China's personal computers, compared to only 29.6 percent of computers in the U.S., says Net Applications' head of marketing, Vince Vizzaccaro.
This story, "Microsoft Celebrates as Internet Explorer 6 Dies, Windows XP Wilts" was originally published by Computerworld.