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France and Germany call for the end of IE6

By Aaron Gustafson | January 20th, 2010 | Filed in Browsers

Google’s disclosure of a December cyber attack, originating in China, prompts two major governments to push for the aging browser’s demise.

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As you may have heard, the “Operation Aurora” cyber attack that occurred in December has prompted the formal warnings from both the French and German governments about the use of IE6 (and 7 and 8, for that matter) because of its security vulnerabilities.

This leads me to two questions:

  1. Will these warnings have an impact on the use of IE6 in France and Germany?
  2. What about the rest of the world?

What do you think?

Your Replies

#1 On January 20th, 2010 10:39 am Richard Conyard replied:

Is it too late to put my letter into Santa requesting that UK Gov listens and drops this monstrosity?

#2 On January 20th, 2010 11:07 am Jens Meiert replied:

To answer 1., let’s try a search. In comparison to other countries, Internet Explorer is not very popular in Germany, and then, Internet Explorer 6 is not quite user agent #1 in France either.

#3 On January 20th, 2010 11:35 am Hans replied:

Nah… No impact, I’d say.

People who consider their browser an important tool have already switched. And those who haven’t will not do it just because the government says so.

#4 On January 20th, 2010 11:39 am Blaise Kal replied:

I hope so, but I don’t think so.

It’s not the home user that’s still massively using IE6, it’s the IT department of big companies that enforce IE6 because they don’t want to upgrade. Upgrading costs money, testing, training and possible incompatibilities with intranet applications. Maybe they’ll start thinking about upgrading when more websites are not supporting IE6.

#5 On January 20th, 2010 12:17 pm » Dejte pozor na nebezpečný Internet Explorer! - Martin Hassman: nejen o prohlížečích replied:

[...] se opravdu děje. Think Digit to nazývá prohlížečový Exodus, na WebStandards čekají, zda výrazně nepoklesne podíl IE6 ve Francii a Německu. Patnáctý leden je takovým černým [...]

#6 On January 20th, 2010 12:37 pm Derek replied:

I think that the governments of these countries should put some pressure on major web service providers (Yahoo, Google, and, indeed, Microsoft) to formally deprecate IE6 and notify their users that they will no longer support that archaic browser.

As long as popular web services support it, people will not be inconvenienced to upgrade.

#7 On January 20th, 2010 1:21 pm Chris replied:

I’d like to hope it will have an impact, but I’m not so sure it will. I believe most IE 6 users are corporate networks, that have had their internal systems built as IE 6 applications, and that as long as these are working, the corporations have little reasons to upgrade, as:

A) They know doubt have separate server security & firewalls to prevent access in to their network.
B) They are not interested in investing in upgrading Windows / IE / different browsers to enable their staff to browse Facebook better when they are there to work.

My company uses XP & IE 6, and as the internal system works for them, they are just not interested in upgrades, as they don’t need them. They don’t care if the application is built using web standards, or is 8 years old, why would they? It’s not a web site, it’s not supposed to impress anybody, it’s an internal system designed to do business.

#8 On January 20th, 2010 1:33 pm Chrom replied:

The people at the Mozilla Metrics blog saw a peak in their download count for Germany.

#9 On January 20th, 2010 2:42 pm Likeyn replied:

I’m a 22 years old french student in web technologies.

I really doubt that everyone in France will stop using IE because of this warning, as a lot of IE users are people who do not care about this stuff. However, I hope that at least administrative people will do so, that would be a great progress.

#10 On January 21st, 2010 4:08 am Chris replied:

Being German I can tell that this won’t affect the use of IE6 in Germany. People who mind what the BSI (Federal Office for Information Security, who issued the warning) tells are already using different browsers since that’s not the first warning.

#11 On January 21st, 2010 5:40 am Sebastiaan replied:

I don’t think it will change a lot, because many companies don’t have one person that can decide to stop using IE6 and upgrade. There are policies to think of and user interfaces that will break due to do bad programming and webapps that will stop working due to (hey, I’m repeating myself here) bad programming. Furthermore the IT-departments often don’t see the use of changing browsers, because hey, it still works right?

Upgrading will have to be done on a large scale, implying everyone in the company. Someone (most probably some management person seeking it higher up by doing a bold statement and them following up on it) has to take the lead and enter the quagmire that often accompanies such migrations.

Myself, I haven’t used IE6 since, well since today actually, because a client of mine runs IE6 only on their intranet… But personally, I haven’t used it for many, many years. Except for testing then, to cater to all those large companies that still haven’t migrated to a better, safer, modern browser ;-)

#12 On January 21st, 2010 8:18 am Simon replied:

It’s great that these warnings have been issued – every little helps – but unfortunately, like a lot of government advice, I don’t know how seriously corporations or individuals will take this. After all, governments have been warning against the dangers of smoking for many years.

I think it will help to contribute to the slow demise of this browser, but I don’t expect to see a massive worldwide browser revolution (however awesome that would be).

#13 On January 21st, 2010 9:08 am links for 2010-01-21 « burningCat replied:

[...] France and Germany call for the end of IE6 [...]

#14 On January 21st, 2010 9:32 am Chris replied:

I would like to just plain get rid of MSIE*. But that’s such a non-starter with IT departments it seems the “just get rid of MSIE 6″ approach is smarter tactically.

But MSFT itself plans to keep supporting version 6 into 2014. That’s a decade in internet time.

It’s there people’s lobby efforts should be focussed. Get them to change that date to 2011 and we will see change.

#15 On January 21st, 2010 9:36 am Rick replied:

I hope so!

Once you try Firefox, you ain’t going back.

#16 On January 21st, 2010 3:17 pm Alastair Revell replied:


It is worth noting for the benefit of your readers that as of 21st January 2010 at 18:00 GMT, Microsoft have issued MS10-002, which patches the flaw.

Obviously, it goes without saying that this patch should be applied ASAP by everybody using Internet Explorer. There is a brief article on The Consultancy Blog.

Alastair Revell
Managing Consultant
Revell Research Systems

#17 On January 22nd, 2010 6:37 am CPG replied:

Nous, français, déclarons officiellement la guerre à Internet Explorer !
Et vous ?

#18 On January 22nd, 2010 9:07 am Johan Rydberg replied:

I think the attack in december and the warnings made after it should have an impact on the use of IE in the countries involved and internationally too, to a lesser extent. There really is no excuse for IE’s inability to keep up with the current webstandards. In my work as a webdesigner I’ve often cursed IE for their refusal to keep up with the times and standards but when it comes to neglecting major security flaws I think they’ve crossed a line and I would not be at all surprised if they actually suffer a major blow in the aftermath of this attack.

- Johan Rydberg Möller
Webdesigner, Internet Marketer and Security Consultant
My latest marketing project
My consulting business

#19 On January 22nd, 2010 12:15 pm domain replied:

Of course it has impact as far as I can see. The remaining people who used IE finally switched to Firefox and since the made it a nice media story incl. a warning I think user numbers will fall further.

#20 On January 23rd, 2010 4:10 am Morgan Ney replied:

I’m pretty confident that most French and German IE6 users will switch to a new browser, at least more readily than Americans, due to their respective governments warnings. I like to think that international Internet users are more aware of the different browsers and likely to migrate from IE, but this is mainly because I despise IE. However, I think that with the latest attack on Google more people in general will be switching from IE6 if it’s still their browser of choice (oh and what a terrible choice).

#21 On January 25th, 2010 4:08 am Siegfried replied:

Well, it should. But it won’t. We will have to cope with IE6 for quite some time. The way the majority sees and perceives the web will prevent a change in the near future.

#22 On January 25th, 2010 5:50 am Gutschein replied:

I do not think that these warnings will have an impact on the use of IE6, because unfortunately there is an insufficient amount of people out there who care about things like security standards. As long as they won`t announce such warnings in the evening televions news, no one will care about these topics.

#23 On January 26th, 2010 11:38 pm John Stands replied:

I think IE is still the best browser in terms of the graphics, layout and simple to use especially using it on a Laptop. Unfortunately IE always had security issues but they never tried to completely fix them. As soon as the Europeans started switching from IE Microsoft came out with the patch to fix the problems.

#24 On January 27th, 2010 12:23 pm William Stevens replied:

I hope the UK follow suit and send a clear message to Microsoft regarding internet explorer. This browser especially IE6 has caused no end of problems for website designers for years!

#25 On January 27th, 2010 8:17 pm Dani replied:

I do agree that they are still there, especially company users. They have no choice. Some websites still have special treatment code in their markups.

Please stop support for that old and vulnerable browser.

#26 On January 31st, 2010 9:31 pm WaSP Member ccasciano replied:

Its worth noting that in a post the Google Enterprise Blog on Friday — — Rajen Sheth, Google Apps Senior Product Manager states they will begin phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6 in some of their properties like Google Docs and Google Sites and calls for enterprises to update their systems….

2010 is going to be a great year for Google Apps and we want to ensure that everyone can make the most of what we are developing. Please take the time to switch your organization to the most up-to-date browsers available.

#27 On February 4th, 2010 4:53 am France and Germany call for the end of IE6 – The Web Standards Project | Drakz Free Online Service replied:

[...] the original: France and Germany call for the end of IE6 – The Web Standards Project Share and [...]

#28 On February 11th, 2010 1:02 am Harun Isik replied:

Hi all,

to question 1: I think the same, Internet Explorer 6 have a lot of security vulnerabilities. And many peaple now in Germany are using Google Chrome because it´s faster and have not so many “Security vulnerabilities” as Internet Explorer 6. I mean that´s right what France and Germany doing.

And one Question: Can I explain this article in German to share on my website? I think it´s an interesting article for some peaple.

Many Regards from Germany,

Harun Isik

#29 On February 12th, 2010 12:09 am [ شات صوتي ] replied:

Well, it should. But it won’t. We will have to cope with IE6 for quite some time. The way the majority sees and perceives the web will prevent a change in the near future

#30 On March 1st, 2010 9:34 am Agni k. replied:

Another fact to point out is that some of these businesses are still be running on Win 2K, in which IE6 is the max upgradable version.

#31 On March 26th, 2010 3:30 pm Stefan Gutschein replied:

This definitely has implications in Germany and increasing the use of alternatives such as Firefox steadily. And the rejection by the world go on IE6, I’m sure.

#32 On March 27th, 2010 9:18 am Browsergames replied:

No one is listening to the gouverment on technical topics. And thats good. Not long ago german gov warned of using the internet at all. Especially für banking und business communication.

#33 On April 1st, 2010 11:49 am Lee Gilbert replied:

Whilst everyone is correct that the real issue here is corporate use (IE6 being a common company network browser and the max upgrade on Windows 2000 – still arguably the most popular platform for corporate networks, remember how long NT5 stuck around!!!) I remain confused why just France and Germany are getting involved. Furthermore, why are their Governments leading the charge, surely they have better things to be doing in these times!!!!

#34 On April 6th, 2010 10:56 am Heiko replied:

I dont think that a warning from the gouverment has any effect.
As long as most people have Windows they will use IE.

#35 On April 19th, 2010 9:04 am Webstandard-Blog replied:

I think this won’t have any impact on the use of IE6 in France & Germany. It is Microsoft by themself, because of Windows 7. The other way to stop the IE6 is getting support by Google ( because of Google Chrome ) for example.

The IE6 seems to be a tought adversary ;o)

#36 On April 19th, 2010 11:06 am guitare replied:

It’s too bad, IE9 seems to be a good solution to replace firefox :D

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