It’s not often that a company celebrates the demise of one of its (former) flagship products, but Microsoft is happily shouting "good riddance" to its aging Internet Explorer 6 browser.
"Time to pop open the champagne because, based on the latest data from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1%!," announced the company gleefully in a January 3 post on the Windows Team Blog. "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."
Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) was launched in 2001. Despite its age, less-than-savvy web users continued to use the browser -- most often because it came bundled with Microsoft’s Windows XP software and users were reluctant to upgrade their software or browser.
Frustrated web developers have long complained that IE6 is hindering the progress of the web at large because of of its incompatibility with modern web technologies.
However, over the last couple of years, major internet properties such as Facebook and YouTube have phased out support for the browser and prompted users to upgrade to a more modern alternative such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera or recent versions of IE including IE8 and IE9.
According to Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site, 7.7 percent of internet users globally were using IE6 in December 2011, down 6 percentage points from the year before.
While IE6 usage in the US has dropped to 0.9 percent, more than a quarter (25.2 percent) of people in the China were still using the antiquated browser in December 2011. IE6 usage in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and India was also high at 7.2 percent, 5.9 percent, 5.5 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.