December 01, 2010, 4:40 PM — Internet Explorer 6 was originally released in the summer of 2001. At the time, it was a significant step forward for Microsoft and helped to establish Internet Explorer as a dominant force in Web browsers. The venerable browser has put up a good fight, but new usage statistics suggest it may finally be on its proverbial death bed.
Almost a decade and two major browser revisions after its launch, Internet Explorer 6 is almost universally criticized for its incompatibility with Web standards and its poor browser security. Despite the criticism, though, IE6 has refused to die. In fact, broken down by version, Internet Explorer 6 is still the number three browser, and has more market share than Internet Explorer 7.
Internet Explorer 7 has been around since the fall of 2006, and Internet Explorer 8 is approaching its second birthday, with Internet Explorer 9 in public beta and expected to be officially released sometime in the next year. Never mind any of the other improvements and features of these subsequent browsers, the security controls alone should be all the justification that organizations need to abandon IE6 and upgrade to IE8.
Apparently, all of the lobbying and anti-IE6 campaigns, combined with persistent prodding from Microsoft is finally paying off. Roger Capriotti, Director of Product Marketing for Internet Explorer, states in an Exploring IE blog post, "In the last six months, IE6 usage is now declining faster among enterprises than it is among worldwide consumers. We believe this reflects how organizations are recognizing the need to migrate to a modern browser."
Microsoft, with the help of Net Applications, has dug beneath the standard browser market share tracking to examine browser usage by organizations as opposed to individual consumers, and the results are encouraging. Small and medium businesses are leading the IE6 exodus, but overall only about 12% of browser usage in organizations--regardless of size--comes from IE6.