Effective January, 2012, none of the CD-ROMs or digital download kits we produce will support Internet Explorer version 6. They may work with IE6, or they may not; we are no longer investing the (considerable) time and effort required to provide compatibility.
Internet Explorer version 6 is ten years old. In technology terms, that is a bit like ten lifetimes. Modern web browsers, such as Internet Explorer 9, are faster, more reliable, much safer to use, and conform more closely to international standards for browsers. Microsoft is close to launching version 10 of Internet Explorer.
In a recent article on The Windows Blog, Roger Capriotti, Microsoft’s Director, Internet Explorer Marketing, commented that “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.” He went on to announce that in many countries, usage of IE6 has fallen to less than one percent of web users.
To their credit, Microsoft has helped the drop in IE6 usage, creating the IE Countdown website in March last year (“Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6”).
Canadians, for reasons I don’t understand, are a long way behind Americans and most Europeans in updating their web browsers.
If you are still using IE6 (as I write this, about 1.4% of Canadians are using IE6, and about 0.9% of Americans), please visit the sites linked above and upgrade your browser! The Internet, as well as a lot of software like our CD and download kits which use the browser to display information, is going to become progressively less usable if you stay with IE6.
Internet Explorer 6 contained many notorious security holes. More than any other web browser, IE6 was the one hackers targeted to distribute viruses and malware which could be used to steal your personal and financial information, or create a botnet using your computer to surreptitiously send spam emails. Just visiting an infected website with IE6 was enough to infect your computer without you knowing it had happened.
Those security holes are still there. Evidence suggests strongly that people who do not update their web browsers are often also not actively updating the operating system software on their computers by downloading the regular “patches” from Microsoft, or using up-to-date antivirus software.
I am speculating here, but I suspect that many of the Canadians who continue to use IE6 may be seniors who are not comfortable with technology. So if you have parents or older relatives who use a computer, why don’t you do them a favor and check if they are up to date the next time you visit? While you are doing that, you might also want to set their “check for updates” security settings to “automatic” so that critical patches and updates are downloaded and installed automatically.