Why You Should Stop Supporting IE6

Now that Internet giant Google has started telling it’s users to stop using IE6 to access GMail, you should to. The only time anyone should be supporting IE6 anymore is when they are working on an intranet app that will only be accessed by the poor souls forced by corporate policy to use it.

Microsoft even sent out an update last February that “auto-updated” users to IE7. But, not everyone has those turned on, or installs them once they are downloaded.

Reason #1 is simple. IE6 is a terrible browser. It couldn’t be any more non-compliant if it had set out to be.

ie6Reason #2: Usage has dropped to 20%. In 2005 usage of IE6 was over 80%. Firefox users now outnumber IE6 users.

Reason #3: If you continue to support IE6, people will continue to use it, which is bad, see reason #1.

Reason #4: When someone like Google stops supporting a browser, it’s a watershed moment for that browser. I understand part of the reason Google is doing this is to push Chrome, but the fact remains that hundreds of millions of people will be nudged to abandon IE6.

Reason #5: The other choices are far superior. Even users that want/need to stay with IE can upgrade to 7 and be much better off. Just the tabs in IE7 will be a productivity boost for most users.

Photo By: Tansan

Photo By: Tansan

Reason #6: No transparent png support.

Reason #7: The IE Developers Toolbar is sub-par. Trying to debug and fix IE problems are too much of a hassle now. Once tools like Firebug became available for Firefox, who would ever develop in IE?

Reason #8: Security. IE6 has so many holes in it it is still the #1 target of script kiddies and real hackers.

IE6 is the Chevy Chase of browsers. At one point in the past, popular, everybody liked it and it did a good job. Now, it’s outdated, nobody likes it and it just can’t do the job any longer. It’s time for IE6 to retire.


  1. I totally agree. Just had a conversation about this at work yesterday. As long as developers continue to code to support IE6, users have no reason to upgrade. Internet Explorer gained market share by providing features that other browsers did not support and the “Best Viewed in x browser” pushed people to switch. Now it’s unprofessional to tag sites with that phrase. Choosing not to implement features in superior browsers because IE6 can’t do it is silly. Spending all the extra development time to get the features to work in IE6 is often a resource drain.

    I’ll use General Motors cars as an example (disclaimer: I don’t work for nor have I ever worked for GM and my two current cars are a Honda and a Mazda). The Pontiac G6 is a nice sedan that does the basics well. The Cadillac CTS is a slightly larger car that does a whole lot very well. Going on a long trip in the Cadillac is many times more pleasant than in the Pontiac. The expectations are different and the delivery is different. Thinking the Pontiac should provide a similar experience is reasonable. But telling the DOT that they need to fix the roads so that the Pontiac driver/rider has the same experience as in the Cadillac sounds absolutely ridiculous. That’s the comparison with IE7 and a modern standards compliant browser.

    Now take that Pontiac 8 years ago and compare it with today’s Cadillac and you have the comparison between IE6 and a modern standards compliant browser. No contest. If you’re still driving the 8 year old non-premium browser, understand that you won’t be getting the best experience.

  2. Amen and Alleluia! IE6, 7, 8 or an other number is a rash on the skin of humanity. (No offense intended to people with actual rashes.)
    It costs people time, security and money. (Not to mention unnecessary headaches.)
    It’s limiting and unreliable.
    I think it’s Microsoft’s way of punishing the world for that lawsuit a few years back.

    It’s like I always say…Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer.

    Thanks for this fact-packed post, will be linking directly to it from my blog’s sidebar where I’m setting up an anti-IE camp.

    Kind regards,

  3. I agree that it will be nice when IE6 is no longer in existance, but for myself 20% of the market share is still too high to completely abandon it…

  4. I’m not advocating abandoning it, I’m advocating developers stop killing themselves with ie_hacks.css files. If something doesn’t look exactly right in ie6, that’s the shove that they might just need to upgrade.

  5. Yeah I agree with what you said there. It doesn’t have to look perfect… make it look *decent* in IE6 but if certain things are a little off, no big deal.

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