Internet Explorer 6's Useful Un-Functionality

By May 28, 2010

Despite Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6's age of nine years, some companies have found a new benefit from using the browser - because of its limited functionality, the antiquated browser cannot render some popular Web sites prope

rly, especially Facebook. Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft's Australian chief security adviser told ZDNet "[Companies are] happy to stay with IE6 because ... a lot of the social networking sites and the sites that they deem are unnecessary for work purposes, they're not going to render and function properly within [older versions of] IE."

Instead of network administrators being being obliged to install site-blocking software or other productivity managers onto their employees' computers or servers, they simply let the handicapped software do the work for them. Or more appropriately, let them NOT do the work for them.

But failing to upgrade software could lead to other hazards. IE8 has better built-in security, according to Strathdee. Besides that, the task of continuous support for a Web browser nearly a decade old makes life difficult for Web designers and developers, as AllFacebook points out. These individuals "cringe at the idea of supporting IE6 which is why many companies, including Facebook, have decided to stop supporting the browser all together."

These complications have been responsible for two efforts: encouraging people to update to newer browsers, and cutting off support for older ones. Ryan Gavin, head of the Internet Explorer business group is focusing on destroying IE6. "Part of my job is to get IE6 share down to zero as soon as possible," he told PC Pro Friday. Gavin is working with Microsoft to move companies to IE 8.

As for cutting off old browsers, Google claims it wastes time on fixing issues on previous versions that it could spend improving their actual products. Google Docs already cut off IE6 support in January, and Reader will follow suit June 1st. But more browsers, some much younger, will be outmoded by this - Firefox 2, Safari 3 and Chrome 3 or earlier will all need to be updated.

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