By Harry McCracken | Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:22 am
It’s weird: In terms of durability and the sheer numbers of people who have used it, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 is one of the most successful software products of all time. But between its security holes and its poor compatibility with Web standards, it’s also one of the most headache-inducing applications ever–not just for the people who use it, but for those who build sites and strive to keep the Internet safe. And in early 2011–nearly a decade after IE 6 shipped with Windows XP–it’s a product from another era. Yet NetApplications says that 12 percent of Internet users worldwide are still running it.
These days, Microsoft has at least as much reason as anyone else to try and close the books officially on the IE 6 era: It doesn’t want to support it and would prefer that IE 6 holdouts upgrade to a newer Microsoft browser running on a newer Microsoft operating system. So the company has launched an Internet 6 Countdown site, with stats on IE6’s current usage and a stated mission of driving usage down to under 1 percent.
You Technologizer visitors are doing your part–over the past month, .8 percent of you have arrived via IE6. It’s been an atypical month here: Usually, Internet Explorer is the #2 browser after Firefox, but over the past 30 days it’s been #3, a couple of points behind Safari–and nearly tied with Chrome. It might be a statistical blip. But if it isn’t, and Chrome continues to surge, IE could fall to fourth place.
For you guys, the most interesting IE question isn’t when IE6 will drop off the map–it’s whether Internet Explorer 9 will get usage of Microsoft browsers growing again, particularly among Web-savvy sorts who also know all about Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It’s easily the best new IE since the 1990s, so it has a shot at winning some IE expatriates back. Any thoughts from those of you who are using it (or tried it and went back to whatever you were running beforehand)?