Unlike other efforts to shove IE into its grave, Richter's motivation didn't stem from the general bitterness developers have for Microsoft's quirks, which require them to spend extra time tweaking their work to render sites with older browsers like IE6, IE7 and even IE8.
"It's not about the time itself, it's more about limiting the features available to users," Richter argued. "If there is a super-cool feature that is super-useful for users, but 20% of browsers don't use it, many companies [with websites or apps] just don't try to implement it at all, because they know at the very early stage that it would mean additional development [and] cost, hacky workarounds, making the app potentially unstable, and so on."
Richter cited "canvas," the HTML5 element for scripting bitmapped images, as a prime example. The Apple-introduced standard was adopted by Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera Software's Opera browser in relatively short order between 2004 and 2008. "The thing is, it's not supported in IE8, it came in IE9 in 2011," said Richter. "Given the significant market share of IE8, canvas is still not widely used. Companies just opt not to use canvas at all, even though it would be available to 85% of users. And that's the main problem here. IE is simply blocking the development of the whole World Wide Web."
While Microsoft has pledged to retire IE6 in April 2014 -- alongside Windows XP -- it will continue to support IE7 until 2017 and IE8 until 2020. XP users will, however, not receive security updates to any Microsoft browser after April 8, 2014.
Microsoft may have used the adjective "modern" to describe each of its last three browsers, IE8, IE9 and IE10, but Richter wasn't buying it.
"Microsoft is obviously closing the gap now, and IE10 is almost a modern browser," Richter said, referring to Windows 8's default browser, and the one now being pushed to Windows 7 PCs. "But Chrome and Firefox are moving fast, and there are still several cool features not supported in IE10, [such as] Stream API or SPDY, [so] I am still committed to move people away even from IE9 and IE10."
SPDY -- for "speedy" -- is a Google-driven protocol designed to load pages faster and more securely. Both Chrome and Firefox, the latter since 2012's Firefox 15, support SPDY, as does Opera. There are reports that Microsoft may enable support for SPDY in IE11, the browser slated to ship alongside this summer's update to Windows 8, code-named "Blue" but likely officially designated Windows 8.1.