Microsoft unveiled Internet Explorer version 6 nine years ago. That was a long time ago. George W. Bush had been in the White House for 2 months. Google was still using rented office space for corporate functions. American Idol had never aired one of its 324 (!) episodes. Microsoft had not even released Windows XP yet. Long time, right?
Microsoft has stated that it wants to provide support for IE6 until the year 2014. Google has said that IE6 will stop working on Google properties in March. That includes the big search engine, YouTube, Gmail and other services. This battle has been raging for years. Try downloading a component for Microsoft Office without using a Microsoft browser, and you’ll be blocked.
The dance between Google, Microsoft and the open source crowd intensified in recent years and is boiling over now. We talked with 2 security experts who share the belief that IE6 is the most vulnerable major browser still in use. Then we took a look at a sample of client sites. Our survey was a mix of B2B and B2C sites that ranged from shopping to content/advertising sites.
To qualify a site had to be generating 10,000 plus North American visitors each month. Some scraped by. Some were at a million visits. There was no site – even a technology oriented site – that had lower than 3% of visits from an IE 6 browser. Most sites hovered in the 5% to 6% range. One site with many large business and government customers had a 19% rate for IE6 and a 74% rate for Internet Explorer overall. Changing browsers throughout an organization is not a task anyone takes lightly, but this is a small business blog. If your company is continuing to use IE 6, then you need to at least upgrade to IE7. Besides Google’s obvious power in this area, hundreds of websites are joining the IE6nomore movement. That may be extreme for most companies, but given the aging software’s multiple security vulnerabilities and its inability to use Google properties in the coming weeks, any small business using IE 6 should be upgrading today. Here is the browser share analysis we did showing how many people still use the outdated browser