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Microsoft To Support IE 6 Until 2014

August 14, 2009

Despite the release of Internet Explorer 8 five months ago, Microsoft says worldwide use of IE6 would allow it to extend its support for the browser until 2014.

Although it was released in 2001, IE6 still claims a worldwide user base of about 27.2 percent, according to Net Applications.

By modern standards, the browser is outdated, but in a slow economy many users are holding out before upgrading to new software.

“The reason to still be on IE 6 at this point is lack of awareness, or the ‘good-enough’ problem that people are satisfied with what they are using,” Amy Barzdukas, general manager of IE and consumer security at Microsoft, told AFP.

“Particularly in this economy, it is difficult to be cavalier and just say update to IE 8.”

Also, IE6 is carried by Microsoft’s XP operating system, which has gained much public support after the deemed failures of Windows Vista OS. Additionally, XP is widely pirated and is increasingly being used in countries such as Brazil and India.

“Friends do not let friends use IE6,” said Barzdukas.

“If you are in my social set and I have been to your house for dinner, you are not using IE6,” she said. “But it is much more complicated when you move into a business setting.”

But consumers’ desire to stick with the outdated browser has caused some developers to form groups pushing for the elimination of IE6.

For instance, the “IE6 No More” campaign is “run by a group of people who want to see IE 6 disappear as soon as possible,” according to the group’s Web site.

“To help make that happen, we’re encouraging the IE 6 users of our websites to upgrade to a more modern browser, so they can have a better experience using our sites and browsing the web.”

“As any web developer will tell you, working with IE 6 is one of the most difficult and frustrating things they have to deal with on a daily basis, taking up a disproportionate amount of their time. Beyond that, IE 6′s support for modern web standards is very lacking, restricting what developers can create and holding the web back.”

“People can get frustrated with that experience and say Microsoft stinks, or IE stinks, and base that perception on technology released ten years ago,” Barzdukas told AFP.

“We want them to experience the latest.”

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