Google begins dropping support for Internet Explorer 6

In a move to help get users off Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 browser, and onto one that's much better with current web standards, Google has announced that soon it will begin dropping support for the outdated software.

The problem with Internet Explorer 6 is that it fails at running some of the standard features of today's web development technologies, meaning that it gives web developers a rather hard time when they put websites together. If the market share were small, this wouldn't matter so much, but Internet Explorer 6 still holds a decent-sized portion compared to other browsers, due to companies and other organizations refusing to switch from it. Despite the fact that there are many faster, more secure, and generally better browsers, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, Safari and Firefox, a lot of companies have yet to make the upgrade.

The announcement earlier, made on the Google Enterprise Blog, states that beginning March 1, Google Docs and Google Sites will no longer work correctly when viewed in Internet Explorer 6. These two services have a lot of users, so hopefully, this will help make a difference when it comes to what browsers are being used. Keep in mind that the company is only starting with those two; support for Internet Explorer 6 will be phased out as time progresses, giving users some time to switch. The announcement closed with, "2010 is going to be a great year for Google Apps and we want to ensure that everyone can make the most of what we are developing. Please take the time to switch your organization to the most up-to-date browsers available."

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Hi, I'm one of those people that needs to keep using xp. I am thinking it's about time to move away from IE6, but there seem to lots of horror stories regarding IE8 - such as http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?threadID=332156

Can you guys tell me if these are all old problems that have been fixed or do I still need to be careful? Is there a better browser than IE8 for an XP machine?

Thanks,

Hi, I'm one of those people that needs to keep using xp. I am thinking it's about time to move away from IE6, but there seem to lots of horror stories regarding IE8 - such as http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?threadID=332156

Can you guys tell me if these are all old problems that have been fixed or do I still need to be careful? Is there a better browser than IE8 for an XP machine?

Thanks,

I'm sure it's in Google's interest to get people to move; If people have to change browsers, there's a chance they'll choose Chrome. However, at the same time, I don't blame them for not wanting to target IE6, nobody wants to deal with that.

I find it interesting how Google positions something like Google Docs as a better alternative to Office, as it's OS-agnostic.

However, if you're using IE6, you're going to find yourself out of luck. So, they're not really fixing that particular problem--they're just shifting it.

At least you can run an office suite bound to a specific OS forever (take it offline if it becomes a security risk). If you've committed to Google Docs, then you're using a moving platform that you can't control--and so you have to keep investing in upgrades.

Consider this--some DOS and Windows 3.1 systems are still in use today and can't be moved (only outright replaced at high cost, so instead they keep going forever)--but they're as functional today as they were the day they were designed. The whole cloud concept removes the very possibility to use systems like this. Which is better?

For Pete's sake, people...

You all know that all operating systems released by MS before October of 2001 [b]cannot[/b] upgrade beyond IE6.

The problem is not just the corporate world, or the ignorants...it's people throughout the whole world that [i]can't[/i] upgrade IE. There are millions of people still running W2K, ME and 9x, especially in countries who wish their GNP was equal to just one quarter of MS revenue. They are forever stuck at IE6.

Upgrade the OS to solve the IE upgrade problem? No...many of those old machines don't meet minimum system requirements to even allow XP to install. Any of you remember rocking 64 megs on Win98 and thinking you were swimming in RAM? If you don't have 64 megs, XP refuses to install...if you don't have at least 128 megs, XP runs so slow that it's basically unusable.

Switch browsers? Many of these people don't even know what the right mouse button is used for.

And if something works, they just keep using it.

Stop blaming just the corporations.

In fact, you should instead blame just MS.

we cant blame the people who are using IE6 now. they are not techy people like us and they just use application whatever is in there system. I have seen a lot of people in my organization who still use IE6 and they don't know that IE 7 and IE8 has been released. Since i am an IT guy i help them understand the security risk and help them upgrade to a good browser. To upgrade all system someone in each organization need to take an initiative.

Ohh man Google is soo stupid... and so waste your time.

WAKE UP for 2010! Welcome RIA frameworks!

Developers need to kill HTML/JS and Google.. if you don't want to loss your time (and your head) developing Googleish old style apps.

Kill kill kill kill

mentas said,
Ohh man Google is soo stupid... and so waste your time.

WAKE UP for 2010! Welcome RIA frameworks!

Developers need to kill HTML/JS and Google.. if you don't want to loss your time (and your head) developing Googleish old style apps.

Kill kill kill kill

I'll be frank...you have serious issues.

mentas said,
Ohh man Google is soo stupid... and so waste your time.

WAKE UP for 2010! Welcome RIA frameworks!

Developers need to kill HTML/JS and Google.. if you don't want to loss your time (and your head) developing Googleish old style apps.

Kill kill kill kill

Seek help. Immediately.

Good thing my workplace doesn't have restrictive software policies and that virtually all of their computers have IE 8 and Firefox! And for those saying that people should be forced to abandon IE 6, I agree 100%! Now let's see if we can convince Microsoft to revoke those IE 6 support contracts and end support for that outdated piece of crap by the end of this year. Heck, while we're at it, MS should also abandon XP extended support a lot sooner than 2014 (preferably in 2011), given that Windows 7 Pro offers XP mode, therefore eliminating any lame excuse not to upgrade.

I understand why corporations are still using IE6. But they NEED/MUST move forward.

I think this IE6 issue must come down to a Y2K issue. A deadline so to speak.

There IS no reason in 2010 for ANY corporation to be using IE6 other than budget and laziness issues.

It was rather sad to see a local hospital, part of a much larger system, still using IE6 for the internal sites that are used for patient data.

Good... Maybe if other programmers will stop supporting IE6 with those IE hacks and so on placed inside their code, and instead of that showing up a pop-up with a list of recommended browsers, maybe IE6 will die faster.

I set up computers in schools and they come with XP SP3 from dell, but with IE6? WHY? I hope dell and other manufactures with start to use IE7 or 8 in there builds.

robyholmes said,
I set up computers in schools and they come with XP SP3 from dell, but with IE6? WHY? I hope dell and other manufactures with start to use IE7 or 8 in there builds.

Well considering you are getting XP from Dell you are buying their "business" class computers, the Vostro, Optiplex and Precision computers. Have to also think that large businesses who still need IE6 buy these machines as well. Dell will never pre-load IE 7 or 8 on them as it would cost the company that buys them more if they have to re-load the machine freshly if they can't get it off, but they should be able to, just an extra step that is not needed by the large coporation which Dell probably makes more money off of.

about time and when building/designing apps and stuff then don't bound it to certain technologies or it will be a nightmare to replace when it comes time to replace it and instead of spending millions on private jets and 1000 dollar meals you need to spend that on areas which matter more instead of just you and ilev : IE6 is old and is very insecure and users like yourself have had more than enough time to switch over to more secure browsers like ick ie8 so stop complaining and move on and if we must support ie6 till 2020 then we will blame users like you who hold back progress but for a temp fix for ie6(it will restrict it alot)is to implement lower rights so it won't have the right to do anything dumb and it can be done with a 3rd party app though some functionality is broken.

My school still uses IE6! It sucks and crashes every couple of minutes haha, we need to upgrade - like the rest of the world.

c3ntury said,
My school still uses IE6! It sucks and crashes every couple of minutes haha, we need to upgrade - like the rest of the world.

Oh yeah,
You KNOW those computers are well taken care of! It's NOT IE6's fault for those crashes, I'm sure.

I NEVER had any issues with IE6 crashing and I don't know anyone that has, that has a decent running machine.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with IE6 and Google has the right to do what they're going to do, even if it is a stupid move!

cork1958 said,
There's absolutely nothing wrong with IE6 and Google has the right to do what they're going to do, even if it is a stupid move!
Nothing wrong with IE6? That's quite a bold statement.

now if only users could stop using XP.... oops did I say that out loud? I can't wait for the day it's no longer available. I'm so tired of jumping through hoops to fix hardware that is over half a decade old in order for someone to keep using software that is almost a decade old. I'm surprised people still want to pay extra to buy Win7 Pro, just so they can get the downgrade rights.

koppit said,
now if only users could stop using XP.... oops did I say that out loud? I can't wait for the day it's no longer available. I'm so tired of jumping through hoops to fix hardware that is over half a decade old in order for someone to keep using software that is almost a decade old. I'm surprised people still want to pay extra to buy Win7 Pro, just so they can get the downgrade rights.

You get downgrade rights with Windows 7 Pro +? Never knew that. Even then I don't see how XP would run properly on hardware designed for Windows 7. Bet the drivers are missing for half of the hardware.

koppit said,
now if only users could stop using XP.... oops did I say that out loud? I can't wait for the day it's no longer available. I'm so tired of jumping through hoops to fix hardware that is over half a decade old in order for someone to keep using software that is almost a decade old. I'm surprised people still want to pay extra to buy Win7 Pro, just so they can get the downgrade rights.

Well a lot of business with Windows AD servers would need to pay for the Win 7 Pro license to begin with to join them up to the AD domain. A lot of home users just go out to WalMart, Best Buy, Staples, etc and buy a machine loaded with whatever Home edition that happens to come on it. I do not think a lot of home users are aware they could go to HP or Dell's buisness website and get a downgrade to XP.

With Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate having a free XP Mode, now we are starting to see a lack of need to get XP pre-loaded on the machines, mostly now we just have to upgrade the Antivirus to support Win7 and load up XP Mode for the older applications that won't work. Unfortunately smaller businesses do not always have the money to spend on updating their software. We struggle with some of our customers to get them to spend needed money on upgrades and new equipment.

But thankfully none of our customers require IE 6 so they are all on 7 or 8 now, and going to slowly get them going on Windows 7 as they get new PC's in.

Martog said,

But thankfully none of our customers require IE 6 so they are all on 7 or 8 now, and going to slowly get them going on Windows 7 as they get new PC's in.

That's what we're doing too, seeing as the time is ticking on those downgrade rights. As soon as April of next year hits, XP will be a goner.

Come on, how long has been IE 7 released? How long has been IE 8 released?

If enterprise users can't afford the risk to upgrade to IE 8, home users should upgrade anyway.

Jelly2003 said,
I will be VERY happy for them to do this, we need to force the corporate world out of 2001.

I'm confused why. Shouldn't the user be the one deciding his upgrade path?

Frazell Thomas said,
I'm confused why. Shouldn't the user be the one deciding his upgrade path?
While I understand your comment is about Jelly saying we need to force the corporate world out of 2001, I fully agree with him.

Developers should not be forced to develop for outdated platforms that contain potential security risks and crappy standard support when instead you can simply update your software and the developers can then code in peace.

Frazell Thomas said,

I'm confused why. Shouldn't the user be the one deciding his upgrade path?

No more than a person sentenced to death should be allowed the option to be set free if he is scared of needles.

Get with the programme and stop holding the rest of humanity up with your backwards, technophobic, luddite stupidity.

Nagisan said,
While I understand your comment is about Jelly saying we need to force the corporate world out of 2001, I fully agree with him.

Developers should not be forced to develop for outdated platforms that contain potential security risks and crappy standard support when instead you can simply update your software and the developers can then code in peace.

Us developers don't build apps for ourselves alone. We build these apps for users... It should be those users who define the requirements for their applications. If they don't want to upgrade past IE 6 then they shouldn't be forced to.

If you want to reach that market then you're forced to code for IE 6. Otherwise move on...

Developers never should force a platform choice on a user. That should be done by the users who should be forcing that on developers. After all, we are here to help the USER be more productive or solve some challange for them.

I don't like IE 6 more than anyone else, but I can't agree with forcing someone off something they paid for and would like to continue using.

Frazell Thomas said,
Us developers don't build apps for ourselves alone. We build these apps for users... It should be those users who define the requirements for their applications. If they don't want to upgrade past IE 6 then they shouldn't be forced to.


*snipped for length*

Well said.

Edited by svnO.o, Jan 30 2010, 9:06am :

Frazell Thomas said,

Us developers don't build apps for ourselves alone. We build these apps for users... It should be those users who define the requirements for their applications. If they don't want to upgrade past IE 6 then they shouldn't be forced to.
*snip*

While I kinda agree with you, IE6 should've never even been a platform. It should've been the standardized web technologies with the browser being irrelevant for functionality. Unfortunately most of the corporate apps built way back were done when there were no viable alternatives to IE6 and now they suffer for it.

I'd wager that the main problem is getting companies to take the time to rework their intranet apps and spend the money to have competent developers do that because the old piece of crap is "good enough and everyone knows how to use it".

If MS were smart, they'd simply provide IE6 as an application that runs in its own sandbox separate from everything else so you can run IE6 for the old webapps but still use IE8 or some other browser for other tasks on modern operating systems like Win7.

Frazell Thomas said,

I'm confused why. Shouldn't the user be the one deciding his upgrade path?

Normally I would agree with you but unfortunately IE6 is so full of security holes it is like digital swiss cheese. I would say it is a good thing to try and push users to either move onto a newer version of IE or consider switching browsers. I've put a non-intrusive notice on my website in a push to support other browsers and to try and get users to upgrade.

Frazell Thomas said,

Developers never should force a platform choice on a user. That should be done by the users who should be forcing that on developers. After all, we are here to help the USER be more productive or solve some challange for them.

While I agree with your premise, I also know that as application architects and designers, we are obligated to inform the user of potential security, compatibility, and long term maintenance issues. In the case of the IE platform (especially IE6), if anyone is developing applications specific for that platform and not providing the risk analysis, they are not doing their job well.

Yes, users should ultimately be the ones who choose the upgrade path, but it's up to the Software Engineering department to provide the data to allow them to make an informed decision.

Frazell Thomas said,
I don't like IE 6 more than anyone else, but I can't agree with forcing someone off something they paid for and would like to continue using.
When they can update it for free, why should we not force them to update to use the web apps we build? Why should we be forced to put time and (possibly) money into supporting old outdated software that doesn't follow many standards when the user can simply download the updated browser for free and save us time and money?

I understand what your getting at, but I do not agree with it. In a corporate environment the end user is not upgrading the software anyway, the IT department is, so it should be on their heads to upgrade, something they should know how and have no trouble with based on what their department is about. Now, for public development I would be a bit more forgiving, but instead of coding specifically for IE6 I would simply make a statement that things may not work properly in IE6, and suggest users upgrade (possibly with a page that shows them how to upgrade) rather than just blocking them all together.

Either way I still feel developers should not be forced into putting extra time into supporting a single browser when users can simply update their browsers and the developers will be able to spend that free time on other more important features.

The organisation I work for just implemented Google Apps/Sites/Video and still use MSIE 6. This is probably going to be a nightmare for our IT team.

Upgrading MSIE on 2000+ workstations is easy. It's cutting the red tape and politics that make it so difficult.

kizzaaa said,
This is probably going to be a nightmare for our IT team.

http://code.google.com/chrome/chromeframe/

Are you sure about that? ;]

Jelly2003 said,
I'm sorry... did you say that you wanted to spend money?

???

When you use SOX/PCI compliant legacy applications that were designed for MSIE 6 then yes it can be a very costly exercise to upgrade.

Imagine your billing production system (which produces 100,000's of bills each run) was designed for MSIE 6 (stupid I know). The upgrade cost is very high (factoring development, deployment, testing, training, etc) even if its for a "simple" upgrade to MSIE7/8.

We're not talking about home PCs and consumer applications here. The enterprise is a different world!

It's tricky to upgrade. However with that said, I hate MSIE 6 and would love to see the thing go!

Edited by kizzaaa, Jan 30 2010, 6:43am : Spelling

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be smart, I am very aware of the corporate world, usually when I want to do anything, money is the first thing that gets asked...

kizzaaa said,

???

When you use SOX/PCI compliant legacy applications that were designed for MSIE 6 then yes it can be a very costly exercise to upgrade.

Imagine your billing production system (which produces 100,000's of bills each run) was designed for MSIE 6 (stupid I know). The upgrade cost is very high (factoring development, deployment, testing, training, etc) even if its for a "simple" upgrade to MSIE7/8.

We're not talking about home PCs and consumer applications here. The enterprise is a different world!

It's tricky to upgrade. However with that said, I hate MSIE 6 and would love to see the thing go!

Then sue the person or the company who designed the software for you and made it bound to Internet Explorer - people who do something like that should be sentenced to death by having a red hot poker jabbed up their ass. It is also time for management to start demanding that the internal applications aren't dependent on technologies that are closed standards.

With that being said, I find it funny that these large companies are happy to spend millions on private jets and luxuries for management but when it comes to improving the efficiency and security of their capital infrastructure they always plead poverty.

kizzaaa said,

???

When you use SOX/PCI compliant legacy applications that were designed for MSIE 6 then yes it can be a very costly exercise to upgrade.

Imagine your billing production system (which produces 100,000's of bills each run) was designed for MSIE 6 (stupid I know). The upgrade cost is very high (factoring development, deployment, testing, training, etc) even if its for a "simple" upgrade to MSIE7/8.

We're not talking about home PCs and consumer applications here. The enterprise is a different world!

It's tricky to upgrade. However with that said, I hate MSIE 6 and would love to see the thing go!

No one is really stating they have to get rid of these legacy systems right away. They can keep the IE6 to run their legacy applications, but there is nothing really stopping them from loading Firefox or another browser alongside for regular internet use on computers used to access the internet.

Jelly2003 said,
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be smart, I am very aware of the corporate world, usually when I want to do anything, money is the first thing that gets asked...

All good. :)

PsyOpWarlord said,

No one is really stating they have to get rid of these legacy systems right away. They can keep the IE6 to run their legacy applications, but there is nothing really stopping them from loading Firefox or another browser alongside for regular internet use on computers used to access the internet.

I would completely agree with that, but when you have corporations/businesses that have strict IT policies that prevent installs of software like Firefox then it's not as simple as it sounds.

kizzaaa said,
The organisation I work for just implemented Google Apps/Sites/Video and still use MSIE 6. This is probably going to be a nightmare for our IT team.

Yeah, I can understand that, but on the other hand, if there has to be no pain involved, that IT team will never switch from IE 6. Moving from IE 6 is painful regardless when, due to the design of it with ActiveX and all that crap.

rawr_boy81 said,

Then sue the person or the company who designed the software for you and made it bound to Internet Explorer - people who do something like that should be sentenced to death by having a red hot poker jabbed up their ass. It is also time for management to start demanding that the internal applications aren't dependent on technologies that are closed standards.

With that being said, I find it funny that these large companies are happy to spend millions on private jets and luxuries for management but when it comes to improving the efficiency and security of their capital infrastructure they always plead poverty.

Great scott get the Delorian!

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, the trouble is that no-one had the foresight to see this coming. When most "IE6 Compatible" websites were designed, MSIE6 was the dominant browser, and in all fairness, there wasn't a viable alternative. Developing for multiple browsers at the time was time consuming and not seen as an issue since 100% of users used IE6 inside your company.

Only now are people seeing the issues behind this (bad) design philosophy, and unfortunately the issues that IE6 brought to the table will haunt us well into the next decade. The reprieve for most users is that on the internet, times have changed and people DO develop for multiple-browsers, and support is now being formally dropped for IE6 (and rightly so!). In enterprise however, this is costly very costly; and when analysing the cost of upgrading, the people pinching the pennies will inevitably ask "why?", since the system that is in place now works perfectly fine. And you can't really fault them, we have plenty of truly awful systems where I work that were designed for IE6 that barely even work at all, but the fact of the matter is that they DO work, and as long as they work, the whole "upgrade" issue doesn't hold any water.

The saving grace in the corporate world won't be Google and Apps, it will be Microsoft and Windows. Eventually, Windows XP will becomes so far deprecated that it will be necessary to upgrade Windows, and only then will the time come when the IE6 hacklications get upgraded or disposed of. As one of these developers, I can't wait, and I'm fortunate enough to work for an organisation that is planning to upgrade to Windows 7, but there are plenty of organisations for whom it would still be to costly to upgrade IE or Windows.

Tekkerson said,

http://code.google.com/chrome/chromeframe/

Are you sure about that? ;]

That probably wouldn't work at all. I'd say just go up to IE 7 or 8 and be done with it. The company I work for is finally making the bump to IE 7. Please note that Google Chrome itself had a security issue on it that it created for IE 6 users and Microsoft caught it. (of course they did)