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Google Starts Phasing Out Support for IE6

Gordon Kelly


Google Starts Phasing Out Support for IE6

It has long been on the cards, but I suspect the recent Chinese Google hacks were the last straw...

Google has announced it will soon no longer support Internet Explorer 6:

"Many other companies have already stopped supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers," said Rajen Sheth, Google Apps Senior Product Manager. "We’re also going to begin phasing out our support, starting with Google Docs and Google Sites. As a result you may find that from March 1 key functionality within these products - as well as new Docs and Sites features - won’t work properly in older browsers."

In fairness Google isn't just pushing Chrome, it also recommends - and links to - the Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari homepages. Of course we all know where the real problem lies though, and so does Google concluding: "Please take the time to switch your organization to the most up-to-date browsers available." Enterprise at large has long resisted the pressure to upgrade employee browsers because of the infrastructure cost such a move necessitates. So ultimately it seems the only way to force a change is for the biggest companies to stop supporting IE6 - hinder productivity and upgrading becomes the lesser of two evils on the balance sheet.

Who else would you like to see end IE6 compatibility? Come on Microsoft, put your money where your mouth is...


Google Blog Announcement

IE6 no more


February 1, 2010, 2:10 pm

IE6?! wow ,that's ancient! as if people are still using it when theres so many alternatives, especially when chrome is probably THE best browser for windows.


February 1, 2010, 3:19 pm

@Mo From my sites visitor stats, 1 in 10 people still use IE6. It's bad enough getting the site to look correct in IE7, but IE6 is a real pain in the backside.


February 1, 2010, 3:25 pm

Looking at the internet usage stats for Windows and IE, it seems that two thirds of Windows users are still on XP and a third of IE users are still on IE6. Assuming all IE users are using Windows and nobody uses IE6 on anything newer than XP, that would mean half of XP users are using IE6. And these people make up 20% of all internet surfers. I wonder how many of these are using IE6 at work rather than at home?

Martin Daler

February 1, 2010, 3:49 pm

@BobaFett you have got to be right. I can just about understand business with well entrenched business critical applications hooked on IE6, with nobody still alive who understands the coding (but the excuse is starting to wear thin, smacks of lack of management after a while).

But surely no home user can be in that situation - can there be any other reason for IE6?


February 1, 2010, 4:26 pm

We use IE6 in work, partly as our intranet was designed for it, but we are in the process of creating a new intranet based on Joomla, however a fair chunk of our estate plus our terminal servers are windows 2000, so there is no higher version of IE.

Its all very well saying use Firefox, however we have a number of group policies to do with internet access which would not work with Firefox



February 1, 2010, 4:42 pm

@Martin: whilst it's an undesirable situation to be in, the inertia when it comes to change in large organisations is something that's not going to go away any time soon. And why spend all that time and money on upgrading Windows and Internet Explorer when for the most part, the old business critical applications that depend on IE6 are still fit for purpose? Hopefully with Windows 7, most companies have little excuse not to commit themselves to an upgrade within the next year, possibly two.

Of course, what XP has proved is that companies can function perfectly well with updating operating systems very infrequently. Windows 7 was released 8 years after XP and brings with it a much more pleasant user experience, but what compelling advantages does it offer to businesses aside from security updates and support from Microsoft?


February 1, 2010, 4:48 pm

I work for an organisation that has about 50,000 users who just moved to XP (believe it or not) with a few thousand still on Windows 2000. We run IE6 on both platforms, and with IE7 and above not being compatiable on Windows 2000. Simliar to Kimbie we have a intranet and other resources built around IE6 which will take a lot time and effort to ensure compatiblity with newer IE versions, and as for firefox and other browsers - it's unlikely they will be permitted on the corporate build anytime soon. Reality is not everybody can take up new versions without a lot of pain, cost and time.


February 1, 2010, 5:38 pm

In fairness my school has only just transferred to IE7 (since the blocker has been updated for IE7) and all the computers are on XP. On the plus side there is a computer in every classroom ( 2/3 have interactive whiteboards) and the ICT rooms aren't exactly small. Got the quantity just need the quality.


February 1, 2010, 6:32 pm

@Bobafet Security is a prime concern for those using the internet, and reason enough to upgrade to a newer version.

IE has never been a standards complient browser, developing for a browers that has tried to impose Microsofts own standards and then complaining is no nones fault but your own and your own short sightedness... time marches on. If your website/intranet can only use this version of the browser and no other later version or any other alternative, then it shows a lack of planning.

What was built x years ago cannot expect to function in this now standards complient era.


February 1, 2010, 7:46 pm

At uni all the computers are still XP, but that's fine as if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But at least they have IE7, Chrome, and Firefox on all of them. It doesn't take a genius to redesign simple intranet, I have some knowledge in it so I'm not just plucking that from the sky.

Martin Daler

February 1, 2010, 7:56 pm

it is very easy to focus on the urgent to the detriment of the important.

Of course, when one day IE6 is found to be the root cause of some massive data breach suddenly what was merely important becomes urgent as well. Surely all these corporations realise they would be better chipping away at IE6 in their own good time, before it does become surgent?


February 1, 2010, 8:19 pm

Google in one line javascript shocker. Pathetic PR stunt, whipped up by the media over an ancient browser.

Google Ad Infinitum.


February 1, 2010, 8:44 pm

Bear in mind that IE6 does have a very good interface. If you want to view your history you press the history button rather than hunt for it in the menus. There are alternatives of course, but they're not that well known.

Martin Daler

February 1, 2010, 9:33 pm

somebody needs to press the history button on IE6 :)


February 1, 2010, 9:57 pm

Like a couple of commentators above have said a lot of companies have invested a lot of money in software based on IE6 so the views of a self-interested corporation like Google is not going to matter much

And on a sidenote earlier today I began my phasing out my dependence on Google by moving over to Fastmail's webmail service. The less reliant people are on this sinister company with it's corny and sanctimonious 'do no evil' slogans the better

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