Social networking giant Facebook has decided to drop support for Internet Explorer 6, as the arguments to phase out the out-dated browser completely continue to grow.
Facebook said it found that increasingly the browser was giving its users a poor experience, specifically in the communications area and its Chat application.
"No one likes being cut off in the middle of a conversation. That's as true on Facebook Chat as it is in person," wrote Rodrigo Schmidt on the Facebook blog.
"Many of you have told us that sometimes your Chat session comes and goes or even stops completely. We're working hard to end those interruptions so that your experience is stable and consistent."
Many of the problems, he explained, come from the use of older browsers, which have proved themselves unable to cope with the application, and would not have supported new features as they were launched. As such, the firm has decided to cease supporting them.
"The biggest improvements come from changes that aren't supported on older web browsers. After evaluating the alternatives, we've decided to make rapid improvements and provide the best Chat experience possible, which means we will no longer support Internet Explorer 6 browsers," blogged Schmidt. The firm will end support for IE6 on 15 September.
Microsoft is unlikely to be offended by the move, as it started to urge users to upgrade to newer versions of IE back in May of this year. At that time Microsoft suggested that the application was 'Stale', however, it was still being used by more than 15 per cent of the global population.
'Stale' is one thing, but the browser has also been accused of being insecure. In fact both the French and German governments have urged their citizens to dump it in favour of newer, or other browsers. However, as Graham Cluley, security expert at Sophos explained back in January, changing may present more problems than it solves.
"You may be causing more problems than it's worth by summarily switching browsers," he wrote in a blog.
"You may also have web-based applications that don't work well, or even at all, unless they are accessed with Internet Explorer. That's not going to be good for productivity. And finally, what if your replacement browser itself turns out to contain a vulnerability? Are you going to switch again?"
Here in the UK, the government has committed itself to staying with the browser, and in August of this year, echoed Cluley's concerns.
"Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation. To test all the web applications currently used by HMG departments can take months at significant potential cost to the taxpayer," said the Cabinet Office.
As of July this year, the W3C rankings give IE6 a 7 per cent market share, almost the same as IE7 enjoys, and roughly half as much as IE8. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 is currently only available as a preview release.
It could be sometime yet before we see the last of IE6.
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