Microsoft Begin Task to Kill Off IE6

"Friend's don't let friends use Internet Explorer 6," Microsoft said this week, in launching a new site that tracks the progress of pushing IE6 market share below 1%.

"10 years ago a browser was born," Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site says. "Its name was Internet Explorer 6. Now that we're in 2011, in an era of modern web standards, it's time to say goodbye."

Worldwide usage of IE6 was still an astounding 12% in February, lower than the previous year but too high given the security risk associated with using such an ancient browser.

In the United States, usage of IE6 is a mere 2.9%, but in China more than a third of users are on it, a quarter in South Korea and more than 10% of users in such countries as India, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Japan. The figures published on the IE6 Countdown site come from usage tracker Net Applications.

Some users running pirated copies of Windows XP never upgraded to more modern browsers fearing this could expose them to Microsoft's licence tracking systems. But many businesses, even in North America, have valid reasons for still using IE6 because of business applications built expressly for the browser.

Dependence on IE6 has slowed some efforts to upgrade to Windows 7, and virtualisation companies have had to build tools to ease the migration process.

Windows XP users can upgrade to IE7 or IE8, and Windows 7 and Vista users can opt for the beta version of IE9. Chrome and Firefox are also widely used alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer browsers. Microsoft's goal is to push IE6 usage under 1%, saying that it will save website developers the trouble of supporting the out-of-date browser.

Microsoft urged website owners to show the IE6 countdown banner on their sites, and urged everyone to educate others of the dangers. "Friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer 6," Microsoft said.

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