Reports of the death of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (aka Satan’s Browser) may have been greatly exaggerated.
Today was supposed to be a great day for the Web. As of March 1, 2010, Google will no longer support Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 browser—a decade-old dinosaur engineered to navigate the Web as it existed in the year 2000. Why would this be cause for celebration? Because IE6 is barely capable of navigating the modern Web and a total nightmare to build sites, services and applications for.
But ten years after its release, it’s still being used by an estimated 20% of surfers. And while Google’s move is one in the right direction, I’m not breaking out the whiskey and noisemakers for IE6’s funereal wake quite yet. Sadly, IE6 isn’t going away for good anytime soon.
Why do they bother? Because nearly a decade after it shipped with Windows XP, IE6 still commands a mind-blowing 20% market share for browsers, according to the most recent statistics compiled by NetMarketShare. That’s more than double the shares of Chrome and Safari combined, and just shy of Firefox’s 24% piece of the pie. And that’s only Internet Explorer 6. Combined with its better-behaving but by no means perfect descendants, IE7 and IE8, Internet Explorer as a whole owns 62% of the browser market. Now, browser market share is not an exact science and the numbers vary widely from site to site and country to country, but you get the picture.