Microsoft announced today that for the first time it would automatically begin updating Windows users to the most recent browser version supported by their OS (IE8 for XP, IE 9 for everyone else) - in the past, IE has been offered as an optional or recommended update, and users have been given the opportunity to opt out before installing. Users who have opted not to upgrade in the past, users who have installed one of the IE Automatic Update Blockers, users who have Automatic Updates disabled, and enterprise customers who grab their updates from a local WSUS server will not be upgraded automatically. These automatic updates will begin rolling out to Australian and Brazilian Windows users in January, with other territories to follow.

This is the latest step in Microsoft's campaign to reduce IE6 usage - the Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site aims to reduce worldwide usage of IE6 to 1% of the browser market, down from its current 8.3%. The release and success of Windows 7 as well as the increased popularity of third-party browsers like Firefox and Chrome have done a lot to eradicate the ten-year-old Internet Explorer 6, but in spite of that it still retains a fair amount of market share, especially in Asian countries like China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan.

To encourage upgrades, Microsoft has included a few lines of code you can add to websites you administer to prompt users of IE6 to upgrade. Enterprise users, on the other hand, have been offered mostly training courses and case studies showing the benefits of switching.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and many others have already dropped official IE6 support from many of their products and web sites.

Source: Microsoft

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  • tipoo - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Percentage per country I mean, not overall share. South Korea, you have no excuse either.

    Hows that edit button coming along, guys?
  • DanNeely - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    South Korean users actually do have an excuse for lagging badly; their govt otoh...

    A govt mandated ecommerce/online banking security system that required an IE6 plugin had held korean IE levels extremely high for years. Judging by current .kr stats (83% overall IE share), I suspect that their still isn't a non-IE option available. Their IE6 share is falling fast now; a year ago it was 24%
  • Lerianis - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    With all due respect, why would those people still be using Windows XP if those are illegitimate copies? I mean, it doesn't take a savant to download Windows 7 and a crack for it (7Loader, etc.) and your system would run much better.

    Personally, I think that most of those copies in China and India are, wonder of wonders, legal copies of XP that people just haven't updated because they don't want to take the chance of getting a virus-infested Windows 7 crack.
  • cfaalm - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    Why on earth would you hold on to IE6 on a legal copy of XP?
  • mino - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    Because you do not use it for anything besides Windows Update and like stability ?

    The same reason why would run Wnidows without the .NET baggage.
  • Jophiel04 - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Quote of the day from the countdown page:

    Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6. And neither should acquaintances. Educate others about moving off of Internet Explorer 6.
  • logantauranga - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    ...because most OECD-based users are locked into IE6 because of corporate compatibility and most non-OECD users will never allow updates due to their install being illegal and update-crippled.

    Microsoft are simply putting a PR bandaid on a problem they are powerless to solve.
  • DanNeely - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Disagree. There will be a lot of people still using it; but 99% of lusers probably have never opened the windows update dialog and consequently never gotten a single optional update (like new IE versions) unless a geek friend/family member has done it behind their back.

    They've made a fair amount of progress in the developing world too. If you compare the current map to the one from may, you'll see that IE6's share has dropped a lot almost everywhere. Excepting China and Japan the high use countries (colors other than blue) have mostly seen IE6's share fall by 1/3 to 1/2.

    I also predict much larger hits to IE7/8 shares; since consumer apathy/ignorance (not opening WU) is probably responsible for a much larger share of non-upgrades there.

    IMO, MS should take it a step farther and require IE upgrade optouts to be periodically confirmed (eg once/year); to prod people who held off for compatability reasons when the new version was bleeding edge; but forgot about it later on.

    The really interesting question is if this will impact MSes overall market share. On one hand having a better IE installed might reduce the defect rate. On the other hand the sudden change might cause some people to become aware that there is more than just the browser their computer came with and try the competition. But on the gripping hand, might the lusers be so oblivious they don't even notice the change?
  • Ahnilated - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Sounds like it is time to uninstall IE if MS is going to auto update it. I would never use it so there is no reason to even keep it.
  • mino - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link


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