New figures show that the Internet Explorer 6 browser is now in use by less than 1% of Web surfers in the United States. Microsoft has been for years trying to get Web developers and users to move to newer versions of Explorer, such as IE8 or IE9, which offer enhanced security and privacy controls.
But many diehards have stuck by IE6, which debuted in 2001, for fear that their sites would be inaccessible to those using older technology, especially in developing markets.
Finally, it seems that Microsoft's efforts, along with attrition, have all but scrubbed IE6 from the marketplace. According to the latest data from Net Applications, IE6's share is now less than 1% in the United States and a number of other major markets.
[ What should be on CEO Steve Ballmer's to-do list this year? See 5 Moves Microsoft Must Make In 2012. ]
"IE6 has been the punchline of browser jokes for a while, and we've been as eager as anyone to see it go away," said Roger Capriotti, director of Explorer marketing, in a blog post.
Microsoft went so far as to launch a website last year that offered resources that developers could use to help them convince customers and Web users to move off of IE6. Included was code they could insert into their pages that would render a warning message if viewed through Explorer 6. "You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today," the message read.
"Since we launched IE6 Countdown, we've had over 2.75 million visitors and 5.6 million page views of the site--it's clear people are using the content and taking the action to heart," said Capriotti.
To celebrate, the company also baked a going-away cake bearing the words, "Goodbye IE6!"
How far out of date is IE6? Microsoft has already begun showing previews of IE10, which could be widely available this year, though the software maker has not confirmed a release date. The company provided few details, but pledged that IE10 would provide developers with the most seamless support yet for the HTML5 multimedia format.
In the meantime, it's bon voyage for IE6. "We've been expecting this any day now and we've had a great time sharing a few drinks and toasts with you in anticipation of this moment," wrote Capriotti.
According to our Outlook 2012 Survey, IT should expect soaring demand but cautious hiring as companies use technology to try to get closer to customers. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: Inside Windows Server 8. (Free registration required.)