A few days ago a client let me know that their site was having some minor issues on their home computer running Internet Explorer 6. This kind of problem is normally really easy to deal with: I just load up the site on the browser in question, and figure out a solution that doesn't negatively impact other browsers.
However Microsoft has decided that IE6 is no longer secure (No really? The rest of us in the tech industry figured that out 5 years ago), and has automatically pushed IE7 to users' computers via Windows Update.
So anyone with Windows Update enabled has been upgraded (And naturally all of our Windows machines have Windows Update enabled). But according to various statistics accross the web about half of all internet users are still on IE6. So why is this? I have a few theories.
- Computers began shipping with Windows Update about 4(ish?) years ago. Older machines owned by non-savy users will still be running IE6.
- Browser stats lie. One of the big factors for IE is that many crawlers and bots will identify themselves as IE so that they don't get turned away. How much of all internet traffic spambots account for nobody knows, but it's got to be a lot.
- Corporate IT departments are waiting to see how IE7 performs in the wild before upgrading their fleets of machines. And with good reason. IE is showing a few bugs yet that Microsoft will hopefully deal with in a maintanance release (cross your fingers).
So there's still a lot of people running IE6. I've got an old laptop in a cupboard that I'll need to put IE6 on. And I better get my clients to upgrade to...
...something more secure than IE; Like Firefox.