Microsoft claims it has to support IE6 because customers are still using it

As various big social media companies get behind a movement to stop people using Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft has said that it won’t drop support for the 8 year old browser.

Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager of the Internet Explorer team said in a post that dropping support for IE6 isn’t an option, because Microsoft has “committed to supporting the IE included with Windows [XP] for the lifespan of the product.” Hachamovitch justification is that Microsoft still supports Windows XP, and IE6 is the standard browser on (presumably) an XP install that doesn’t run full service packs.

Where Hachamovitch does get it right though is in attributing the blame, noting that it’s not individuals that are the core of IE6 users, but corporations.

“They balance their personal enthusiasm for upgrading PCs with their accountability to many other priorities their organizations have. As much as they (or site developers, or Microsoft or anyone else) want them to move to IE8 now, they see the PC software image as one part of a larger IT picture with its own cadence.”

I understand the reasoning, but don’t respect the call. We wouldn’t let people drive a car if it were known to be defective, we’d recall the car and upgrade the defective parts. IE6 is a defective part that offers unsafe browsing and poor standards support, and it can and should be considered differently to XP support. Microsoft can continue to support XP and not IE6, and if corporate users don’t upgrade, then they assume the risks going forward. I’d doubt very much many large workplaces running XP don’t install security patches (indeed I know they do.) So make the upgrade of IE part of the XP patch process, after all the patches are less effective with IE6 installed on each computer.

(via Mashable)