It’s not often a company celebrates the downfall of its once popular product, but that’s what Microsoft has been doing with its Internet Explorer 6 Web browser.
After launching the IE6 Countdown site in March 2011 to remind people to stop using the outdated browser, Microsoft recently marked the milestone of IE6 usage in the US dropping to below one per cent, based on the latest data from Net Applications.
Originally released in 2001 with the launch of the then new Windows XP operating system, the robust browser enjoyed several years of popularity before it became plagued with security and usability issues in later years.
“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,” Microsoft Internet Explorer marketing director, Roger Capriotti, said.
Despite being superseded by IE7 in 2006, IE8 in 2009, and IE9 in 2011, IE6 has continued to be the browser of choice among a certain number of users.
IE6’s continued popularity is no doubt helped by the fact that IE6 is the default browser on any fresh installation of Windows XP, an operating system that remains on some consumer and business PCs despite Microsoft’s best efforts to get people to upgrade to Windows Vista in 2007 and Windows 7 in 2009.
With IE6 usage dropping below one per cent in the US, it means that the nation has joined other countries in the Champions’ Circle on the IE6 Countdown site that have pulled off the same feat, such as Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
Other nations poised to enter the Champions’ Circle based on recent statistics are the Czech Republic, Mexico, Ukraine, Portugal and the Philippines.
“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,” Capriotti said.
The IE6 Countdown site has been instrumental in getting this message across to users, generating over 2.75 million visitors and 5.6 million page views since it was launched last year.
“It’s clear people are using the content and taking the action to heart,” Capriotti added.
Australia is one of the several nations where IE6 is still refusing to drop down below one per cent. It accounted for 1.4 per cent of browser traffic as of December 2011.
Microsoft Australia Internet Explorer product marketing manager, Melissa Dewick, is happy with the global response to the IE6 Countdown site and attributes the progress Australia has been making towards entering the Champions’ Circle to the help of the community and Microsoft’s IE6 Countdown partners.
“Australia has made great strides towards reducing its IE6 usage and we look forward to joining the Champions Circle of countries below 1 per cent usage soon,” she said.
Worldwide IE6 share has been measured at 7.7 per cent as of December 2011, and Microsoft is aiming to reduce the number further in the short term.
For more information on Microsoft’s expanding Champions’ Circle, visit the IE6 Countdown site at: www.ie6countdown.com