Dr. Frankenstein Attempts to Kill His Monster

The fact that Microsoft has built a website designed to convince people to stop using Internet Explorer 6 is prima facie evidence that the post title is not hyperbole.

IE6 (aka The Browser from Hell, Satan's Browser Spawn, and the Browser That Sucked The Life Out of The Universe) was created in 2001, and brought a world of hurt down on website developers due to its lack of support for commonly accepted design standards, scary lack of security features, and psychotic behavior when confronted with code that other browsers handled with aplomb. Such, um, eccentricities would have been merely amusing had not the browser enjoyed an almost 90% market share thanks to its inextricable bundling with Windows XP and other flavors of that operating system.

An entire cottage industry of coding hacks sprang up in an attempt to make websites look and work the same in IE6 as in more "modern" (read: competent, or unsucky). Making advanced designs work in IE6 could significantly increase the cost of a website, while making it much harder to maintain.

It's hard to understand why people (and even entire companies) still use IE6, other than They Just Don't Know Any Better. You could argue that they're too cheap to switch, except that the last popular browser you had to pay for pre-dates IE. In any event, Microsoft has finally stepped up to the plate - probably in reaction to its own development staff - and is attempting to entice the genie back into the bottle, which we can only hope will remain sealed for times, a time, and half a time, and then some.

Think Microsoft is just giving lip service to IE6's demise? They're going so far as to provide website owners with a widget that displays a "countdown" (it's actually just a plain, static JPG) banner showing the browser's diminishing worldwide usage...and it can only be seen by IE6 users. I was going to show it below, with the coding disabled that hides it from modern browsers, but as with so much that Microsoft produces - bless its heart - it's utt-bugly, so you'll have to go to Microsoft's download page to see it. (Of course, this could be the one time that uglier is better...the better to get the attention of the Unconvinced.)

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on March 7, 2011 7:47 PM.

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