Known for its lack of support of web standards, as well as a seemingly countless number of security issues, IE6 may be the worst web browser ever created.

Yet it has also been resilient thanks in large part to the fact that it was the default browser shipped with Windows XP.

But the browser that can't die soon enough is finally dying.

Yesterday, Microsoft itself celebrated the fact that, according to Net Applications, IE6's market share in the United States has dropped below 1%.

Microsoft's Roger Capriottie explained:

IE6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away. In fact, we launched the IE6 Countdown site last March to help accelerate the process. Less than a year later, I’m thrilled to say that the United States has joined the ranks of Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway in dropping below 1% usage of IE6.  In addition, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Ukraine, Portugal and the Philippines are also entering the Champions’ Circle.  We hope this means more developers and IT Pros can consider IE6 a “low-priority” at this point and stop spending their time having to support such an outdated browser.

Sane web designers and developers certainly won't have a problem with that last sentence. IE6, put simply, has been the bane of their existence for years now. Its flaws and quirks were often painful to address, some times requiring IE6-specific stylesheets, but the browser's market share, particularly amongst corporate users stuck with Windows XP, made IE6 support a common client requirement.

With market share below 1% in arguably the world's most important internet market, some of the clients who have up to this point still respected IE6 will probably move on, preventing a countless number of headaches in the process.

Patricio Robles

Published 4 January, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)



In and of itself IE6 was a good browser when it was released. The problem was that Microsoft didn't update it for 5 years. In that time, Firefox was released and only IE9 can be considered a truly modern browser.

The problem we have in the UK is that large organisations have refused to upgrade. Looking at my work website we saw 11% IE6 usage during the final quarter of last year. Still a lot and, as you say, a pain to cater for.

I'm sure there's a split between corporate and personal use. If you were to look at sites that were accessed from work machines the figure would be higher.

Still, the same quarter the previous year the figure was around 30%, so things are improving.

over 6 years ago

Ove Klykken

Ove Klykken, Web Production Coordinator at Gaslight Media

> IE6 may be the worst web browser ever created.

Do the author remember what browsers we dealt with before IE6 was released? At it's release, it was probably the _best_ browser in the world.

Just because it's a horrible out-dated browser today, does not make it 'the worst web browser ever created'. All browsers that was released before IE6 are probably worse.

over 6 years ago

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