Why We're Dropping Support for IE6
Most people don't even know what a web browser is, much less which one they're using, but for web developers browser support can be a big deal. I'd estimate that it costs between $800 to $1000 extra for each site we develop to troubleshoot problems that only occur in outdated browsers. For quite a while now, we've made it clear to clients that the experience on older browsers may be different or have reduced functionality, but even at that level it can take a lot of extra time to ensure that Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) users have a decent experience.
For this reason, many large companies have dropped complete IE6 support, including Facebook, Google and Amazon.* Earlier this month, Microsoft declared that IE6 is effectively dead in the United States. For awhile now, Microsoft has been running a campaign to kill off its own browser by encouraging people to upgrade to a more recent version of IE and publicly congratulating countries that eliminate the browser.
This isn't merely a national and international trend either. Locally, we're seeing matching data. IE6 usage has dropped below 1% for every major website we host, and I couldn't find any site where usage was above 2%.
With all of this evidence, it should be clear that dropping support is a safe move. In fact, some of you might be asking, "what took you so long?" The primary answer to that we're not dropping support to make some sort of geeky point. If our intention was to earn tech "cred" by showing how quickly we drop old browsers, we would have done this years ago. The fact is that this is the decision that we think is in our clients' best interest. It no longer makes financial sense to support IE6 when the impact is so small. Even for our business-to-business customers, whose target audience likely has no control over what browser they use, this is now a safe move.
So, farewell IE6. We'll all be better off without you.
* Google and Facebook have also begun phasing out IE7 support.
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