Business Technology

Tuesday 12 December 2017

IE6: who still uses it?

As Microsoft launches a campaign to wean web users off IE6, more than a third of all Chinese net surfers still use the insecure browser

Matt Warman

Microsoft’s IE6 browser has been criticised for being slow, out of date and insecure.

Although the company has moved to patch major security weaknesses, its approach is now to encourage people to upgrade their whole browser to, at least, IE8.

With that ambition in mind, the company has also launched a “countdown” website,, to encourage people to upgrade and to educate their friends.

The biggest problem, however, is posed by companies using legacy software. Older versions of Windows, for instance, cannot be upgraded to new Internet Explorer software. Businesses which rely on programmes built specifically for, say, Windows 98, are therefore stuck. In countries where significiant numbers of people use relatively old equipment, such as China, it’s therefore not surprising that 34.5 per cent of web users are on IE6. Usage in Saudia Arabia, Vietnam, Taiwan and India is also above 10 per cent.

According to Microsoft, “In November 2010, IE6 commercial usage share as tracked by Net Applications reached an all-time low at 10.3%. This is actually significantly lower than all-up IE6 usage share, which dropped to 14.58% in November”.

At the time, in China IE6 accounted for 45.2 per cent of browser usage, down from 50.5 per cent in August of 2010.

Although last year’s surge of netbook sales is abating rapidly because of tablet sales and improved processor speeds, those basic machines running Windows XP can still be upgraded to newer browsers. Trends indicate that consumers who are using any machine running IE6 quickly upgrade if they can, so it is likely to be companies and older machines that are the major problem, rather than domestic users.

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