Microsoft refuses to kill off IE6 over personal choice

IE6 no more!

Microsoft has defended the on-going use of its aging browser Internet Explorer 6, saying the choice to use it is a personal one.

The eight-year-old browser still commands a quarter of web users, despite the compatibility problems some say it raises for developers. That quandary has lead a group of web start-ups to launch a campaign called IE6 No More, which aims to push IE6 fans to upgrade to anything newer.

Writing on the official IE blog, general manager Dean Hachamovitch said techies just don't get it. While they may be happy to run the latest browser - and even install a beta - others don't want to or simple can't.

"The choice to upgrade software on a PC belongs to the person responsible for the PC," wrote Hachamovitch.

That said, Microsoft admitted it would like to see people upgrade to IE7 or IE8. "As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version," Hachamovitch said.

"We'll continue to strongly encourage Windows users to upgrade to the latest IE," he said, adding: "We will also continue to respect their choice, because their browser is their choice."

Because of this, Microsoft will not drop support for IE6. "Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product," he said. "We keep our commitments."

Microsoft last year hit trouble because of its XP OS, as it had to keep extending the kill date for that popular operating system - as people wanted to keep using it instead of upgrading to Vista. Full support ended this April, while security patches will be issued until 2014.


One place IE6 has a major hold is enterprise and governments. Indeed, the UK government has been criticised for having no upgrade plans.

IE6 No More claimed that it has heard from "several sources that many corporate IT departments don't feel any need or urgency to upgrade, and receive very few complaints."

Hachamovitch said that those running PCs in companies and other organisations have many factors to consider before upgrading.

"These people are professionally responsible for keeping tens or hundreds or thousands of PCs working on budget," he said. "For these folks, the cost of the software isn't just the purchase price, but the cost of deploying, maintaining, and making sure it works with their IT infrastructure."

"They balance their personal enthusiasm for upgrading PCs with their accountability to many other priorities their organizations have," he added.