Microsoft Starts Internet Explorer 9 Push
The software giant has all manner of tactics at its disposal to get users to move from the oldest supported version of its web browser to its newest
Microsoft is ramping up its challenge to those using Internet Explorer (IE) 6 to get ready to move to its latest, upcoming version of the web browser, IE9.
The man in charge of Microsoft’s IE business group, Ryan Gavin, has been on a media charm offensive, saying it is his job to “kill off” IE6.
IE6 is here to stay for quite a while
He may have a job on his hands, as research carried out by security firm, Zscaler in March put IE6’s share of the web browser market at nearly 27 percent, while Microsoft’s current IE8 claimed a 10-percent share.
But Gavin has been quick to allay fears that Microsoft has plans to stop supporting IE6, as he said many organisations in developing countries still rely on it and Windows XP, as the operating system (OS) that IE6 came bundled with.
However, he admitted that, unlike IE8, the ninth browser version currently in development would not be able to run on the nine-year-old OS, even though it still commands a 64-percent global share of the OS market.
Coincidentally, the same Zscaler report, released earlier this week, pointed out that IE6 lacks the most up-to-date security protections than more recent versions and so might also constitute a greater security risk.
For example, “it is not uncommon for new vulnerabilities, such as a recent zero-day flaw CVE-2010-0806, to impact older browser versions, such as IE6. This same vulnerability did not affect IE8,” said the report.
Companies clinging on to IE6
But, despite the fact that security scares may prove an ally to Gavin in his quest to do away with IE6, he may have a tough fight on his hands in getting enterprises to relinquish their grip on it for productivity reasons.
Microsoft’s Australian chief security adviser, Stuart Strathdee yesterday admitted to a local technology website as that some organisations actually prefer sticking with IE6. This was because of its inability to render sites such as Facebook properly, meaning employees are forced to get more work done as opposed to posting or checking status updates.