Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Google ending support for IE6 in 2010, Telerik support continues

If you develop for the web, you know IE6. The default browser that ships with Windows XP is the bane of any "standards-based" developer. For public web site developers, it adds days- if not weeks- to development cycles for testing and tweaking site functions to work in the ancient "broken" browser. If you work in a company still running XP and IE6, you may not notice the problem today, but eventually your sites will have to say goodbye to IE6, and with that transition will come your introduction to the pain the rest of the world has suffered.

There have been public initiatives for years trying to get companies (almost all "home" computers auto-upgraded via Windows Update to IE7 years ago) to ditch IE6. Sites like IE6Update.com and BringDownIE6.com try to educate and provide an easy upgrade path for users stuck on 6. But after more 9 years, IE6 still holds a 22% global market share (to IE7's 17% and IE8's 19% in Q409).
Many famous sites have already reduced support for IE6, calling it "unsupported" and providing a reduced or "non-guaranteed" experience. Apple, Facebook, and YouTube are some of the higher profile examples to-date. Now Google is turning-up the heat.
I received an email as an administrator of a Google Apps for Domains (Google's business-oriented service platform for its apps) account that included the following message:
In order to continue to improve our products and deliver more sophisticated features and performance, we are harnessing some of the latest improvements in web browser technology. This includes faster JavaScript processing and new standards like HTML5. As a result, over the course of 2010, we will be phasing out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 ​as well as other older browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers. We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.
In short, Google is ending support of IE6 for it's major business apps, like Gmail and Google Docs, this year.
This will clearly help accelerate the end of IE6's relevant market share, but it also opens some critical questions. Why doesn't Microsoft adopt the same aggressive stance for its own web apps? For Silverlight? Do you need to support IE6 in your own public web apps?
While we can all hope for a day when web standards will unify to a level that we can really embrace the power of HTML5, Telerik will in the mean time continue to support IE6, as we recognize that some of you may be "trapped" in IE6 organizations. This obviously adds a fair amount of overhead to our own development process since it makes adding new features more difficult, but we are committed to supporting the needs of our customers. While the rest of the world calls IE6 unsupported, Telerik continues to work hard to help you support it if you must.
But what do you think? Is IE6 still relevant to your development? Or can we all agree to join Google and make 2010 the year we say goodbye to IE6? Let me know. I'm always listening.


Anonymous said...

Cue in some Queen for a more dramatic effect :)


Mac said...

I'd prefer that IE 6.0 not be supported any more from any vendor. There will always be a selection of people and companies who will not upgrade unless they have no other option. Continued support for IE 6 gives them that other option.

sqrbox said...

Maybe you can do a survey to see how many of your customers really need IE6 support to make an informed decision?

From me, I vote Yes to end support for IE6 after 2010.

Todd Anglin said...

@Mac @sqrbox- We'll definitely listen closely to our customers to make an informed decision. We'll be as happy as anyone to see IE6 fade in to obscurity.

Believe it or not, almost 8% of visitors to this blog (a site primarily visited by developers) still use IE6! 44% use IE7/8 to FF's 38%.

Konstantin said...

Do we need IE at all? ;)
A good post on the subject:


Anonymous said...

According to the stats for my customer's sites, on average, 15% of their vistors are still IE6, which makes it their 4th most common browser... after IE8, IE7 and FF... and ahead of Safari, Opera & Chrome.

It might be a hassle to add those extra IE6-specific hacks for it, but I can't just pretend it doesn't exist or demand people not use it.

Anne said...
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