Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The Campaign To End IE6

Category: IE

A new resistance in our fight against teh evil has begun in Norway:

Yesterday, one of Norway’s biggest commercial sites, started issuing a warning to all IE6 users telling them to upgrade their browsers. Today, a host of big norwegian sites are doing the same. The campaign to end IE6 usage is on!

Here’s their translated message:

Heads up: You’re using an older version of Internet Explorer.

In order to get the most out of our website, you can get a free update of Internet Explorer. If you’re using a work computer, you should contact your IT administrator.

And, here’s one of the warnings in context (from another site that added links to other browsers):

Ironically, the screenshot doesn’t exactly manifest cutting-edge design, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

Will the campaign spread? Will it accelerate IE6’s decline?

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 6:00 am

4.7 rating from 71 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

Good for them, good for us, good for their visitors!

Where I work, all our salesmen and saleswomen let the customers know that additional features or new applications will not include compatibility with IE6 anymore, unless they are willing to pay up. (They bring with with a little more tact of course).

We’re just supporting IE7, Firefox, Opera, Safari and the other good browsers. And only the newest versions of the latter few. When IE8 is released, we will just run stuff in IE7-compatibility mode, so no loss there.

Comment by Syntaxis — February 19, 2009

I can’t understand why not all of the big commercial sites don’t even show a tiny warning. Nobody would mind.

By the way, why didn’t they include Safari? IMHO Safari is much better for web designers than Opera or Chrome (better CSS3 support).

Comment by LeaVerou — February 19, 2009

Now only if every major coporation (think big banks) in the world would adopt this same ideallogy. the fact of the matter is, corporations rely on thousands (hundreds of thousdands?) of internal applications all written for IE6. This is the major reason why Microsoft had to back off its OOTB standards support for IE8.

The general public isn’t the problem, as I’m sure 95+% of households no longer use IE6… the real problem is corporate systems… if you can’t convince corporate IT to upgrade, IE6 will be around for a long time (welcome to my life)

Comment by PuckPuck — February 19, 2009

Who would’ve thought it’d be the Norwegians that began the great revolution!

Viva la resistance!

Comment by smileham — February 19, 2009

VG is Norway’s most heavily trafficked site, so it’s a huge win for the web development community (in Norway) that they chose to join this campaign. Other sites have followed suit, and I’ll be recommending something similar to our most trafficked client web sites.

IE6 usage is around 20% as of the last month, still, on some of our biggest sites in Norway and Sweden. Will be exciting to see if this campaign has any effect – I have my doubts but remain optimistic.

Regardless, there’s no way IE6 is going to drop below 5% until IE8 gets rolled out and systems administrators decide that being 2 versions behind is inadequate.

Lastly, I’m wondering if the rumors about IE8 being released in March have anything to do with the timing of this campaign started by the developers at Just a coincidence in timing? I think there’s something to it.

Now if only Facebook or Google (outside of Gmail) would do something like this… Then we might realistically see IE6 vanish by the end of the year.

Comment by PresenceLayer — February 19, 2009

For those interested in more of the bloody details about this, I can inform you that the campaign have now virtually spread to most large websites in the entire country, including (which started it – though being encouraged by Anders Brenna),,,, and I wrote a couple of words about this yesterday myself at; – since this have been one of the things I have fought really hard for for a very long time :)
Fact is that within a couple of days it will be virtually impossible to browse Norwegian websites using IE6 without getting some serious warnings…
And some of these websites (not unfortunately) are also encouraging people to download FireFox, Opera or Chrome instead of IE … ;)
Help us all bring this into the *international arena*…!
It’s about time that we all claim internet back to whom it belongs to – the World…!
Fact is I feel so happy about this that I will make a prediction. This is the end of IE, and I am confident in that within one year from now IE will be permanently burried on the scrapyard of IT together with ActiveX and ActiveX2.0 (Silverlight)…

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

FYI – “the smiling guy” got killed in a brutal attack during a night on town. Pay some respect, and remove the comment about he being bonus.

Comment by martinOS — February 19, 2009

I still miss the MSIE6 warning sign on Ajaxian guys…c’mon chop chop! ^^

Comment by flawless — February 19, 2009

I am not sure, but I think they mentioned in a Windows Mobilde 6.5 demonstration video that this mobile os comes with the IE6!!! I am not sure if the version number on mobile windows is different from the desktoip, but I don’t think so.

So we will have that problem for the next 4 years on mobile phones still.

Comment by Aimos — February 19, 2009

It’s a good idea to warn IE6 users, but it’s a bad idea to ask them to update to IE7. One should only provides links to Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome. IE7 is better then IE6, but it’s still crap and IE8 will be crap, too, compared to any other browser out there.
In fact IE8 is a useless update to IE7: It’s still not on par with the other browsers and has its quirks. Why should I maintain another IE branch, when I still have to support IE7 I will just use the compatibility mode of IE8.

Side note: Updating IE 6 to IE7 is much more difficult than just installing Firefox or Google Chrome. The whole WGA thing and then the installer wants to install still some other things. In the end the update fails and you get a message to read a html document which was put on your desktop. I don’t know why anyone should want all this trouble…

And for all the corporate people:
What’s the problem with using 2 browsers. IE6 for the corporate software and Firefox for everything else. There is even IE Tab, which allows certain pages to be rendered with the IE engine…

I think the main problem is, that companies don’t want their employees to surf the web and therefor the crippled IE6 is ideal. Why invest time in installing a better browser, if no one should use it either?

We all should spend more time getting people to use a decent browser instead of wasting out time with IE support.

Comment by AndiSkater — February 19, 2009

if you can’t convince corporate IT to upgrade, IE6 will be around for a long time (welcome to my life)

Isn’t that a problem in itself? Shouldn’t the IT departments be empowered and concerned enough to upgrade/test their systems on the latest and greatest technology? Also, can anyone give me an activex control that runs in IE6 but not in IE7? If all they are worrying about is a few CSS issues from moving from 6 to 7, I submit that it isn’t worrying about technology being incompatible that is stopping them, but either executive idocracy or laziness that is preventing them from replacing their browser of choice.

Also, don’t most corporate IT departments that prevent the download and install of outside software also limit the websites users can visit over their network? Why would/should the corporate market matter to the rest of us if the corporate market cannot access our site?

Comment by Jaxon — February 19, 2009

My local newspaper stopped supporting IE6 a year ago. Got all kids of nasty calls, but they just said, “Hey, sorry. It’s too old. Upgrade your browser.” And as others have noted, the people who can’t upgrade are the people who work at corporations that have in-house programs tied to IE6.

For those people, adding Firefox is the reasonable solution. The only way that happens is enough whining employees, and the only way that happens is lots and lots of warnings from websites. Everywhere you go in IE6 that’s outside the corporate Firewall, you should see some kind of reminder that you’re using a stone age browser that barely works.

Comment by Nosredna — February 19, 2009

>>Shouldn’t the IT departments be empowered and concerned enough to upgrade/test their systems on the latest and greatest technology?

What planet are you from? ;-)

Comment by Nosredna — February 19, 2009

Why can’t the browsers all just self-update? Man, that’d make our lives as developers so much easier knowing that updates are constantly rolling out…

And yes, I understand that it’s completely and utterly impractical!

Comment by oopstudios — February 19, 2009

>>And yes, I understand that it’s completely and utterly impractical!

Google does it. Without even telling you it’s happening!

Comment by Nosredna — February 19, 2009

IE7 is better? IE8?

People have to use free and modern browsers.

Comment by azer — February 19, 2009

Many large corporates will standardize on IE6, not allow anyone to install software (including Firefox) but still allow access to most of the internet.

I understand wanting to write next generation apps, and not waste time coding for horrible browsers, but do realize that these business users spend lots of their daily time on the internet, much of it for personal uses, and if you restrict your site, you may be restricting users unable to help themselves. damned if you do…. damned if you don’t

Comment by PuckPuck — February 19, 2009

@Jaxon: You have several issues at work here:

1. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sysadmins usually have bigger fish to fry than being kind to web developers.

2. Internal unmaintained apps. This happens more with word, excel, and so on, but it’s not unheard of for some employee to develop a little web app to solve a need, that app becoming critical, and then for the employee to leave the company.

3. Embedded browser controls. Quite a lot of business apps embed a browser control to show part of their user interface. It’s not possible to upgrade ie without upgrading the embedded browser control. I speak from personal experience here. I had a business app that I developed break across the IE7 upgrade because the IE security model changed.

Comment by Joeri — February 19, 2009

Microsoft now *officially supports* the Norwegian “Don’t use IE6” campaign…

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

How to JOIN the war if you’re a site owner…

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

Here is the *JUST* upgrade from IE6 banner … ;)
Which displays links to the different browsers with font-sizes according to how they perform on Acid3 and JavaScript execution speed … :P

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

While I can understand some companies not wanting to switch from IE6 to FireFox/etc due to internal applications, is there really that much that breaks going from IE6 to IE7?

At my work, most of what I do is targeted towards IE, so I have IE7 running for work-related stuff / internal applications / etc, but any Personal browsing that I do is in FF. Thankfully, for now – we have control to install what we’d like on our desktops.

Comment by shypht — February 19, 2009

>>While I can understand some companies not wanting to switch from IE6 to FireFox/etc due to internal applications, is there really that much that breaks going from IE6 to IE7?

It only takes one internal app breaking for the upgrade to be put off.

But I have to think as IE6’s numbers go into the low single digits that developers will be less and less interested in testing against IE6.

I’d keep my eye on jQuery. When will it stop testing against IE6? 2010? 2011?

Comment by Nosredna — February 19, 2009

I just looked up on Wikipedia and realized that IE6 was started on Aug 27, 2001…that means it is almost 8 years old, which is like 20+ years in the digital internet age. I understand that too many systems still require IE6, but we really need to end support for IE6 if we are to ever truly enjoy Web 3.0.

That being said, join me in adding warnings similar to these to your sites, warning users that on Aug 27, 2009 (their 8th birthday) their browser will no longer be supported and will require an update to continue. Providing users with half a year to update should be plenty.

Comment by NicholasHagen — February 19, 2009


Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

@John Resig
Hey, when is the jQueryUpdateFromIe6 widget coming into jQuery UI…? ;)
That would be *awesome*…!
Especially considered it’ll probably eventually even make it into Visual Studio now that MSFT have embraced your stuff… ;)

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

And we’re starting to become truly *international*…!!

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 19, 2009

Man, you guys *really* need to write more about this, it’s going truly international now;
And check the list of websites how it’s growing every minute…
Microsoft even came out with a press release stating their “support” for this campaign, which I have translated here;
*WRITE MORE*…!!!!!!!

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 20, 2009

What planet am I from? Ajaxian of course. J/K. As for your comments about IT departments being empowered to govern technology, I thought that it was the CTO’s job to make sure that the people who know nothing about technology stay out of it.

To the commenter who talked about little web apps becoming critical: I assert to you that most internal applications utelizing a browser control can and probably should be rewritten–especially since IE6 is unsecure compared with IE7/8/Firefox. In the situation where the employee was fired after creating the ap: you really want him on your internal network the day he finds out looking through confidential accounting and forcasting data stored in the temporary internet files of every employee on your intranet?

Data can be displayed in much more secure ways than through an internal website and web browser…like a simple desktop application/dashboard. is great at that stuff…if you are talking about viewing .doc files through the intranet….there’s the concept of viewing it with word, which doesn’t break if you install a new IE browser.

As far as there being little difference between IE7and IE6, there are tones of css layout differences, behaviors, etc. And, as someone kindly pointed out, IE6 is OLD AS DIRT, and really quite slow and cumbersome to use. Time to move on.

Comment by Jaxon — February 20, 2009

Guys, *most* (not all) large corporate companies will not move away from Microsoft Internet Explorer to Firefox et al. for the same reasons they won’t move from Microsoft Windows to Linux; or Microsoft .NET to PHP.

Which leaves them with only one choice: upgrade to Internet Explorer 7. The problem is most large corporate companies also happen to still be using Microsoft Windows 2000, which Internet Explorer 7 won’t run on.

The problem isn’t IT afraid of upgrading to IE7, it’s IT afraid of everything that could stop working if they upgrade Windows from 2000 to XP/Vista.

Comment by AndiSmith — February 20, 2009

Can we have a campaign to End IE8? It’s already as outdated as IE 6 and it hasn’t even been released yet.

Comment by mojave — February 20, 2009

And we have an *elephant* in our army of soldiers ;)

Comment by ThomasHansen — February 20, 2009

@ThomasHansen: You will see people more inclined to read your posts if you paid more attention to what others have posted before.
The facebook support has been already mentioned by Schill. You should also pay attention that 8 comments in a single thread may be a bit too excessive. Sounds like spam to my mind (please note that I’m being constructive here).

Comment by icoloma — February 23, 2009

Please translate better. The site did *not* tell its users to upgrade their browsers. It indicated that the users would get more out of the website if they did upgrade their browsers.
The “users are sheep” tone seems not to have been present on, but to have been introduced by the coverage on this site.

Comment by trav1m — February 24, 2009

trav1m, the site did tell its users to upgrade if they wanted to get more out of the website ;)

Comment by WebDevelopmentBlog — July 25, 2009

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.