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Is IE 6 dead?

December 28, 2009 00:50 by ckincincy

In a prior post I asked for some help on browser stats on certain sites.  The goal being, to answer the question if IE 6 is dead.  The answer really is, it depends.

Lets first show some of the numbers:

Site 1 9.39
Site 2 3.7
Site 3 6.36
Site 4 7.93
Site 5 4.88
Site 6 2.9
Site 7 2.12
Site 8 11.53
Site 9 13.27
Site 10 5.01
Site 11 8.79
Site 12 7.52
Site 13 8.93

Now as you can see only two of these sites are over 10%, these two site are two of my largest visited sites in these stats.  Where 10% means millions of visitors.    Two key things to note is that with many of these sites had two to three times the IE 6 traffic just one year ago and I did remove a few sites who had stats well outside the norm.  One clear fact is that IE 6 usage has plummeted this year. 

Site 1 was the third highest IE 6 usage, this was not unexpected for me as this site has a older age bracket that uses it.  But the fact that it was as low as it was shocked me.  Just six months ago, the IE 6 usage was 25%. 

Now for the sites that showed the lowest IE 6 usage, is also fairly explainable.  Sites 7, 6 and 2 are not WELL traveled sites and their usage would likely be younger.  Younger people will own newer computers and IE 6 is Eight years old. 

So is IE 6 dead?

It depends on three things. 

1. The size of the project you are on.  If you are working on a site that may be hit by millions of people, then no it is not dead.  If your site is a fairly minimal site, then I’d not support IE 6. 

2. Is IE 6 capable? IE 6 is 8 years old and it will have limitations.  If those limitations are deal breakers, then you either have to change the plan for your project or you have to drop support for IE 6.

3. Is the time needed to work with IE 6 in the budget? In the last project I was in, it took us four weeks to work out all of the IE 6 issues.  That is not free time and if the customer isn’t willing to pay for this time, then IE 6 should be dropped.

I will not support IE 6 on any personal projects moving forward.  7% and declining is not worth the hassle.

One of the biggest reasons this conversation needs to start ramping up is the simple fact that large sites and services, even Microsoft, are starting to drop support for IE 6.

Microsoft Office Web Applications
Microsoft Sharepoint 2010
Apple’s MobileMe

That is a fairly important list for my quick search online.  Plus the two sites that had the most IE 6 usage in my list above, will be dropping official support for IE 6 in 2010!  Why then?  Because their corporate computers are being upgraded to Windows 7, so there isn’t as much political need to have IE 6.

On this site, I actually display a warning if you visit with IE 6.  I have for some time, and I think at some point soon I am be ornery and block IE 6 users.  I want that browser to die and whatever that takes, I’m going to support it.


December 29. 2009 13:28

Did you see the writeup in ZDNet. They seem to think IE6 is still around as well. So much of this is going to depend on the Win7 rollout though. Christmas probably helped with the sale of new machines.


Ed Sumerfield |

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