On Saturday I, like many other web designers and developers, woke up to some rather pleasing news: Microsoft has started a campaign to finally say goodbye to Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).
The campaign site: ie6countdown.com shows a worldwide map and statistics of the current usage count IE6 is sitting at. As of Feb 2011 the magic number sits at 12% usage worldwide (down 9% on the previous year), with the ultimate goal of reducing this number to less than 1%!
The campaign site is really quite cool:
In case you didn't know; IE6 has been the thorn in the side of the majority of website developers for many years. Its lack of support for many of the modern web standards which exist today means that developers will often face a fierce battle to get a site which looks the same in IE6 as it does in the more modern browsers like: Mozilla Firefox or Chrome.
The campaign against IE6 is not a new one, infact the site: ie6nomore.com has been around for about 2 years at least! The obvious difference this time around is that it is the very creator of the browser itself which is calling for it's demise.
This is a significant step by Microsoft, the campaign essentially gives the official seal of approval to web design and development companies to not only stop supporting IE6 as a browser, but to give those companies a clear reason for doing so. This is where the previous campaigns to kill of IE6 have fallen down: the lack of an official message to drop support meant that it was down to the individual company/developer to explain to their client why they wouldn't be supporting IE6 which, from personal experience, isn't often well received.
IE6 is still used in a lot of official organizations worldwide which is yet another reason for it's painfully slow demise! Yet hopefully the campaign will reduce support for IE6 to such an extent, that viewing the web through IE6 becomes as painful as developing for the browser has been and the companies will be forced to upgrade. Surely now, 10 whole years after IE6 was born the cost of supporting it will outweigh the cost for upgrading company systems.
All in all, the move by Microsoft should be applauded. Yes it has been a long time coming but personally I think it is better now than never!