Internet Explorer 6, now almost ten years old, was once a power house in its own right. Now, the browser is drowning under its poor support for web standards, a pool of modern web technologies that it can never support, and a flood of hacks that many sites need to employ just to provide a decent browsing experience for IE 6 users. IE 6 was superseded by Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, followed by IE 8 in 2009, and recently IE 9 last week. Of course, alternatives to Internet Explorer, like Firefox, have been around much longer.
According to Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer 6 Countdown, 12% of the world still uses the ten-year old browser. The highest concentration of IE 6 users is in China, with 34.5% of the country still using it, but usage is down to 2.9% in the USA and 3.5% in the UK.
There certainly could be an economic issue or general inability to upgrade keeping IE 6 alive, as the browser only requires Windows 98 to run, while IE 7 requires Windows XP. Firefox seems to have finally pulled the old releases that were still compatible with Windows 98, but Opera supported Windows 98 all the way up to 10.63 (released October 2010), and potential users can still download it here.
With such a powerful and modern alternative to IE 6 available, even to Windows 98 users, the question remains as to why there are so many users still on such an outdated browser.
If you’re a fan of IE 6, please leave a comment and let us know why. If you work for a company that forces you to use IE 6, march on down to the IT department and demand to know why you’re forced to use such an archaic browser.