Today, August 27th, marks the day Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) first came out. It’s a seven year-old browser. This little factoid is part of a battle cry by M. David Auayan to stop developing websites for IE6 by March 2009. Enter the IE Death March.
Internet Explorer 6 will be SEVEN years old on August 27th. It came out a few weeks before the Twin Towers fell. It came out before the Nintendo GameCube. It came out before the first iPod.
It’s time to put a deadline on dropping IE6, and I say that time is now, and the deadline should be soon… say like, March 2009. That’s roughly a little more than 6 months. Feel free to join me. If your company is dropping support for IE6, let me know and I’ll gladly post it up.
There have been tons of initiatives to finally ditch one of the most loathed software on the planet. You may have noticed some of these around the Internet:
- Google let webmasters make money by promoting Firefox. (AdSense Referrals is now retired as of August 2008.)
- Explorer Destroyer provided more aggressive methods of notifying users that they should get a better browser. (Site is now down.)
- Stop IE6 takes a similar approach and invites users to add a script that warns or blocks users from using a site. (Site is still up.)
- End 6! also provides you with a nagging script.
- WordPress proudly displays a Browse Happy link on its homepage, as the WaSP has turned it over to them.
- SaveTheDevelopers.org presents another sympathetic angle to how much IE6 has damaged the moral of web developers.
So many parties are restless about the state of web browsing, and rather than wait for Microsoft to get its act together, they take it upon themselves to do something about it. It doesn’t really stop with the viral websites. Every few months or so you’ll find a blog post that details how the author has had it with IE (IE6 usually) and that he has resolved to drop support for the browser completely.
One must ask: are any of them making a significant difference in the market share of IE? Or IE6, specifically?
According to statistics from several prominent web counters, Internet Explorer is still the dominant browser at around 76%. Although it’s slowly going down by a few percent every few months, that’s still a high number. Even on sites that advocate web standards like W3Schools show that around half of the site visitors are on IE, a quarter on IE6.
The biggest agent of change was probably Google, since it actually paid people to download Firefox. But now that’s gone, will the ball keep rolling? Is it time to look at other, more drastic strategies the way Mozilla did recently?
It seems we’re all feeling a little desperate these days. After all, it’s been seven years.