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Microsoft 'kills' IE6 use in the US, celebrates with cake

updated 03:55 pm EST, Tue January 3, 2012

Microsoft cheers end to IE6 use

Microsoft's hopes that Internet Explorer 6 would die were partly validated after the company's Roger Capriotti noted that the decade-old browser had been reduced to irrelevance in the US. Working from data at NetApplications, he declared IE6 over as it made up just 0.9 percent of all American web traffic. The US was late, having been preceded by parts of Europe and Scandinavia, but was coming at the same time as the Czech Republic, Mexico, the Philippines, and others were also dropping below one percent.

To celebrate, the company baked itself a cake waving "goodbye" to IE6.

The Windows developer still had significant effort left in other parts of the world. China was nearly all of the company's remaining problem, as 25.2 percent of its computer users were still running IE6. Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam were also problematic, though at much smaller levels.

Microsoft's own attempt to stop use of its own browser is based mostly on hopes of driving IE9 adoption and thus getting websites to support real web standards. IE6 was at first seen as Microsoft's way of maintaining a monopoly on web browsing by using non-standard rendering that forced many to optimize their pages for Micorosoft's code. Many, including Microsoft, now consider it a liability as it both doesn't fit web standards and is missing major additions since 2001, such as HTML5.

Although celebrating, the lingering of IE6 has been blamed in part on Microsoft's own corporate philosophy. Its frequent emphasis on legacy support above all else meant that many customers weren't pressed to upgrade to later versions. Windows Vista's rough launch, high requirements, and removal of some legacy support also saw many companies and individuals skip it entirely to keep running Windows XP and IE6 for years afterwards, knowing that Microsoft would still provide official support for at least some of it.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    funny thing is

    that cake lasts 10 years

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    I killed it long ago

    Why did it take such a long time for M$FT to kill it?

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    I am throwing a party today

    I have been saying for at least half of the last decade that the day IE6 dropped below 1% I would throw a party. It's party time.

    Funny, too, because literally yesterday I was wondering where Microsoft's official countdown stood, and checked their site, which showed the US at 1.0%--so I figured it couldn't be long. Canada, the UK, and Australia are still at 1.4%, and Singapore is still up at 2.5%, so it's still going to be a bit longer before I can declare IE6 completely dead for English-language websites, but we're darned close, and the US is a symbolic victory.

    It's funny looking at some of the other countries. Japan, for example, despite rampant technology, is stuck at a ridiculous 6%, I assume because cellphones have reduced the prevalence of PCs in general, and computer literacy is shockingly low on average, so there are a lot of "granny PCs" left there.

    China, of course, is almost entirely due to piracy. Just a bit can probably be blamed on simply old hardware in a 2nd world country, but the vast majority is because you can't get Windows Update to give you IE7 or IE8 if you aren't Genuine Advantage'd.

    If Microsoft really wanted to kill IE6 in mainland China, they'd start pushing updates to bootleg OS installs, but that'll never happen. Then again, if I'm building a commercial website, are those people really going to be customers?

    Heck, the same can be said of the US--if somebody hasn't upgraded their computer in a decade, how likely do you think they are to buy something from you?

    My only regret about the death of IE6 is that I'll probably still need to do an IE gt 6 conditional comment to hide the stylesheet from it, because I'm too nice to just let it render whatever garbage it throws up. At least with IE5 a simple media type was enough to bypass all stylesheets for it.

  1. facebook_Don

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2012


    Now to update to Chrome

    So now all that's needed is for Microsoft to cause MSIE 9 to upgrade to a real browser like FF or Chrome and kill MSIE altogether.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    Forgot to add--it'll be interesting to see the statistics for January; less so in the rest of the world, but in the US a lot of people probably get Christmas present computers, which may further improve the numbers.

    Re: facebook_Don; I will hate IE on principle for the remainder of my days (or its) because of the pain and wasted time it has caused me, but to be honest IE9 is actually acceptable as far as standards support goes. I won't tell people to use it over Safari/Chrome/FF, but I'm not going to complain, either.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    No Chrome

    I would rather use IE5 than to support anything from Google.

  1. chas_m



    Moving in the right direction

    MS is (as always) waaaay behind the times, but credit where it's due: the support of HTML5 and other genuine web standards is very welcome.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    s**** both

    Just kill IE period. Any version of this non W3C standards POS. Forget Chrome from Google back stabbing Mole run company. Just use Safari or Firefox.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2009



    That's still above the percentage of desktop computers running Linux, according to just about every statistic published out there. Whether you choose to interpret this as "don't write off IE6 yet" or "Linux is dead" is up to you.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: I killed it long ago

    Why did it take such a long time for M$FT to kill it?

    Microsoft killed it years ago. This had nothing to do with them. This was actual users who were still using it. What do you want MS to do, just disable all IE remotely?

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