Microsoft Celebrates Decline of Internet Explorer 6 Use in the U.S.

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Internet Explorer 6, the 10-year-old Web browser that Microsoft has been desperately trying to terminate, has dropped below 1 percent market share in the United States, according to data from Net Applications.

Microsoft marked the occasion with a celebratory blog post, including this picture of a cake with a giant HTML5 logo. (Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft's first browser to support HTML5 features.)

"IE6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away," wrote Roger Capriotti, Microsoft's director of Internet Explorer marketing, in the blog post.

"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," Capriotti wrote.

Microsoft hasn't been shy about giving IE6 ill wishes. Last March, the company launched an IE6 countdown page, showing how much of the world still uses the aging browser. The page now shows IE6 usage at 7.7 percent worldwide, 4.3 percent of which comes from China. (IE6 has a 25.2 percent share of the browser market there.)

Good News for the Web

The decline of IE6 is good news for web sites, although some notable sites, including Facebook and YouTube, have already stopped supporting the browser. As users move on, Web developers can add new features and functionality that aren't supported by older browsers.

But Microsoft still has a lot of work to do to get Internet Explorer users fully up to date. The latest data from Net Applications shows 27.34 percent market share for Internet Explorer 8, compared to 11.48 percent for Internet Explorer 9. Because IE9 requires Windows Vista or higher, uptake won't drastically improve until people ditch Windows XP--something that Microsoft is also working on.

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