Microsoft to support IE6 until 2014

Microsoft announced via its Internet Explorer blog yesterday that it will continue to support IE6 for those that don’t wish to upgrade it, until the end of the relevant windows product lifecycle. According to the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search, extended support for Windows XP (the only officially supported home of IE6) is not due to end untill April 2014 meaning unless something drastic happens IE6 still has a good few years left to go and will reach its 13 birthday before it is officially retired.

The Microsoft blog post was made in responce to a Digg blog post made a few weeks ago asking visitors to the site using IE6 to comment and vote on why they still use the ageing browser. The results showed that while numbers are decreasing, there are still a lot of people using the browser, a statistic backed up by numerous other sources.

It did however once again highlight that the majority of these users were at work and unable to upgrade it due to internal IT policies and potential cost of upgrading, so the question of “should you support IE6 when building a website” comes down to one thing… Your target audiance.

If your site isn’t aimed at people in the workplace, a social networking site, an online shop or gaming website for example, then you can probably get away with your site not looking or working as flash and fancy as it does in a modern browser, although you should check users can navigate around or display a message advising they re-visit in an alternate browser. If your target audience is the home user… add as much javascript and inline-blocks as you can handle.

I think the news Microsoft will continue to support an out of date version instead of “persuading” office users to upgrade to their flagship browser isn’t in the best interests of itself or its customers, numerous security issues, non-standards compliant..need i go on.

I think the line they have taken that as it comes with a default installation of windows they must support it till the end of that products lifecycle is a blow to developers everywhere and will ensure the pothole on the internet roadmap will be with us for another few years yet.

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