Why is Microsoft really hitting down hard on IE6?

Summary:Microsoft has had enough with the IE6 browser and wants users to migrate to newer versions. Or, is it just washing its hands of a flaw-filled browser?

If Microsoft is serious about users upgrading from its out of date, insecure Internet Explorer 6 browser in older versions of Windows, it should also promote other browsers to accelerate its demise.

The company is getting desperate and has resulted in reverse marketing its own predicted death of the browser, by drawing attention to it.

Frankly, the fact that Internet Explorer 6 still has a 12% browser share, it makes Microsoft look bad compared to these younger, better looking and more advanced browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

(I bet at least 1 in 3 members of the Generation X reading this article just spat out their coffee in fury).

But there is a solution to get there quicker, Microsoft, but you might not like it.

Mary Jo Foley reported that many businesses are stuck with the browser for the way web applications interact with it. Another theory is the rise of piracy in developing centers of the world, which are using pirated copies of Windows XP even still, and has the browser set as default in the outdated operating system.

If businesses can't afford to upgrade, and pirate copy holders are too poor to buy a genuine copy of Windows, it adds to Microsoft's sticky situation.

If the company was so serious about this objective, it would promote other browsers - just as it was forced to do by European regulators which questioned the dominance of Microsoft's pre-installed browser.

But it isn't.

Naturally it wants to hold onto its browser marketshare for all of its most recent browsers, Internet Explorer 7 through to the new soon-to-be released Internet Explorer 9.

But I am not all that convinced Microsoft is entirely focused on its seemingly sole objective of having "a less than 1% usage worldwide". The security flaws alone keep Microsoft in the counter-threat business by forcing it to plug the holes in its own software.

It was only last month I was so enraged by the fact that nearly a billion people were affected by one flaw which had the potential to wreak havoc across the entire planet, I quit using any version of Internet Explorer altogether.

I strongly suspect that if Microsoft's IE6 reaches a global browser marketshare of less than 1%, it can effectively wash its hands of a browser which at first gave it the much needed worldwide boost over rivals, but has now dragged it through the negative press bureau and sullied its initial victory to a point of no return. 

Is Microsoft washing its hands of the browser in the right or wrong way?

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Topics: Microsoft, Browser

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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