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Microsoft Prays for Failure

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It's buggy. It's outdated. It's prone to mismanagement, erratic performance, and -- more of than not -- is completely incompatible with the rest of the world.

No, I'm not talking about Microsoft as a whole. I'm referring to the company's still regrettably popular browser, Internet Explorer 6.

Last March, Google did its part in trying to kill off IE6 by removing support for the emphatically obsolete software from Google Apps and YouTube. Web and software developers continually urge users to upgrade from the nearly decade-old browser. Web designer Justin Toupin explained the arduous process to keep things compatible with IE6. "It does involve, toward the end of a project especially, considerable work adjusting things like CSS and JavaScript to make sure they work."

Despite the massive headaches and scores of superior alternatives, IE6 is still hanging in there. Whether it's used by a company with an equally obsolete infrastructure or simply somebody's mother, the most hated browser maintains a market share of 12% worldwide.

And as much as Chrome and Firefox users would love to see it go, Microsoft hopes it'll die out, too.


Hoping the "Kill IE6" movement catches on, Redmond has posted an Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site. The page is is "designed to monitor progress of moving worldwide market share of Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) to less than 1%," Microsoft said in a statement. It added, "Currently one in four Internet Explorer users continue to use IE6, a browser which lacks modern web standards and provides an unsatisfactory user experience."

Obviously, along with a better use experience, the goal is to improve Internet Explorer's worth in light of flashier competitors by killing off its most sluggish and error-prone version. For the past few years -- aside from the occasional spike of a percentage point or two -- IE has fallen precipitously in market share, now reaching 57% of users. Although it's still the number one brand of browser by far, Chrome's user base has skyrocketed -- even causing Firefox to dip.

In the last year, IE6's share has fallen 9%. While everyone -- including Microsoft -- hopes that this is due to the rise of the educated web user, we shouldn't rule out the grim fates of its chief user base: outdated companies and the very, very old.

(See also: Seven Reasons Why Google Chrome Could Take the Lead and Can Microsoft Save Internet Explorer From Ruin?)
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