This evening, I received Google’s official e-mail about ending support for Internet Explorer 6. Good riddance. Why isn’t Microsoft doing something so ambitious as surgically removing the IE6 scourge from the Web? There are laws preventing rickety, unsafe vehicles from driving on the highways. Why is there no Microsoft prohibition against driving IE6 down the Information Superhighway? It’s time Microsoft booted one of the vehicle’s wheels so no one can drive it — then haul the miserable wreck to the junk yard.
But Microsoft will talk security but do nothing because so many people still use that buggy old buggy. According to Net Applications, IE6 usage share was 20.07 percent in January — nearly 6 percent ahead of IE7. Surely some Microsoft managers are thinking like this: With overall IE usage share eroding (about 62 percent in January), forcibly locking out IE6 users from Microsoft sites could send them somewhere else. Google is going to lock out IE6 users anyway.
What happens later in the year when Google search doesn’t work right with IE6? Will Microsoft use that as a Bing marketing gimmick? We still support IE6 so you can Bing. Google’s IE6 abandonment will drive people to other browsers. Microsoft should be very concerned about which new vehicle they drive down the Netways.
Google is doing the right thing by partially pulling IE6 — not that it’s enough (Google Docs) or soon enough (March 1). By the way, Google has got it in for other browsers, even its own. Google will support Chrome 4 and above. You’ve Chrome three-oh? It’s time to upgrade.
Anyway, the purpose of this rant is to post the official memo, which I received because one of my domains is assigned to Google Docs. So here’s the official Google announcement as seen by real, living customers:
Dear Google Apps admin,
We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.
Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.
Starting this week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser. We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.
In 2009, the Google Apps team delivered more than 100 improvements to enhance your product experience. We are aiming to beat that in 2010 and continue to deliver the best and most innovative collaboration products for businesses.
Thank you for your continued support!
The Google Apps team
So, if you use Google Docs and IE6, it’s time to swap out one or the other. One more thing: Let’s be real, Google. You got whacked by Chinese hackers because of an IE6 security hole. That’s the real reason for dumping IE6, which is charitable action benefitting the whole Web. Why not say so?