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I'm a Web Application developer and as such supporting IE6 is a royal PITA.

At home most users have upgraded to a better browser or IE7 or IE8 because they can but at work many desktops are "locked down" by Corporate IT, thus users can't install their favorite browser.

I understand that IT Admins need to support a large user base and thus mass browser upgrades may cause headaches if a work related site or application doesn't work in IE7 or IE8.

Alas, the question is:

What Software Applications do your users need that require Internet Explorer 6?

(as a side note, for anyone with persuasion power... feel free to push these software vendors into supporting IE7/IE8/Firefox/Chrome so we can drop this 8yr old browser)

(Note: For this question i'm going to ignore PCs that can't upgrade to IE7/IE8 due to being Win2k PCs...)

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3  
I think you should make this community-wiki. –  innaM Jul 23 '09 at 11:37

11 Answers 11

Maybe not application specific but I know of at least two enterprise size companies that are still running XP SP1. IE7 & IE8 need at least SP2.

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yikes that's kind of scary! SP1? –  scunliffe Jul 23 '09 at 11:56

I think you'll find that the biggest case of a specific need for IE6 will be legacy in-house, custom web apps which have been designed specifically and only for IE6's particular quirks. In other words they have not been designed with any other browser in mind because IE6 was the standard at the time and for the foreseeable future.

Any business decision is made as a cost vs. benefit analysis, which is a good thing for any business. If they don't have a compelling reason to upgrade then they won't. Especially not if they have one of the above-mentioned legacy apps built only around IE6.

Remember the same drivers for upgrading home users are very different to those for businesses, especially corporates. In fact you may find that, ironically, the reasons for home users to upgrade could count as reasons for corporates to not upgrade, e.g. Facebook or YouTube dropping IE6 support could be a huge plus in a business's eyes.

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Every one of 50K + PCs on my corporate network uses IE 6. Or FF with IETab.

You're not supporting the browser: you're supporting Office, .net, + god knows what VB5 and VB6 runtimes, 3rd party DLLs

Shall we break our trading and accounting apps to make your life easier...?

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@gbn - I appreciate the response... its a catch 22. Big corporations don't want to make a huge upgrade (due to time, money, apps, etc.) yet "better" apps are hard to make if IE6 still needs to be supported. I'm thrilled that your users have Firefox as an option - I think that is great. As a developer (in 2009) I'd prefer to create new web apps that require IE7 (or better) as a minimum as it would dramatically simplify development. What I'm curious about is which exact applications are "holding back the web" from progressing forward. –  scunliffe Jul 23 '09 at 18:03
    
It's not really firefox though, it's firefox with IETabs, which I guess is the lesser of two evils –  Mark Henderson Jul 24 '09 at 0:31

Usually the more expensive the product, the more awful the browser support is. Megabuck applications from SAP, Oracle, IBM, etc are usually the worst offenders.

On the other side of the spectrum are godawful internal applications... the type that were ported from Access to VB4, then upgraded last year to VB6. We had one app that would only work in IE 5.01 (w/ encryption pack) that delayed upgrades for well over a year and a half.

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I recently went for an interview at a large company in the UK where their IT manager was proud of the fact that he was still specifying IE6 as the browser installed on all company machines. From what I could work out based on the interview questions and discussion we were having there was no technical reason why it had to be this way. It just made his life "easier".

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Did you take the job? –  Carl Campos Jul 23 '09 at 22:07
    
Making life "easier" usually means we don't have the resources to test every application for every browser, also we've not had enough time to study what the upgrade changes and how to control those changes. In a corporate environment ugrading anything (even as "simple" as flash) usually opens a huge can of worms. –  Tubs Jul 24 '09 at 7:32
    
@Carl - I wasn't offered that one. –  ChrisF Jul 24 '09 at 9:11
    
@Tubs - I got the impression that it would have been feasible to upgrade IE to a later version. –  ChrisF Jul 24 '09 at 9:13
    
@ChrisF - If he'd been through the full testing process, which had then proven that it is possible to update with no adverse affects and decided not to, then yes there may be an issue. It sounds to me that hes in the "known unknown" phase. –  Tubs Jul 24 '09 at 14:08

Oracle Financials, I'm pretty certain, still requires IE6. It will work on more recent versions, but may not be certified (meaning you're on your own if problems occur).

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I work for a company that creates software for financial advisors. The minimum requirements for our products is Windows XP SP2. Unfortunately, a few smaller advisors just do not comply to even these minimal requirements and either use XP SP1 or even W2K. And up to two years ago, we still received support questions from people who wanted to use our software on Windows XP and ME. (Yes, YIKES!)

Then again, financial advisors just use computers as if they're just big calculators with some other useful functions. As long as their system just continues to work, they're unwilling to upgrade their hardware. And like these, there will be many other small/single-person businesses who don't really need to use computers to do their job, who will just continue to use whatever system they have. And if they want to buy new hardware, it's often just a big smartphone thing or a NetBook.

End users sometimes use the strangest setups. In general, if they just need to use a computer like a big calculator, they will often just ignore upgrades and updates and will continue to use systems that were outdated 10 years ago. Fortunately, most application developers will stop supporting those outdated systems. Users might not like it, but finding an alternative solution will be a lot harder when everyone just stops supporting those older systems. Otherwise, you might also have to continue and support Windows 3.1 and even MS-DOS.

My personal philosophy? I won't support anything that's over 5 years old.

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did you mean "XP1" in your "and either use XP SP2 or even W2K" line above? –  scunliffe Jul 23 '09 at 13:33
    
Yep. :o) –  Wim ten Brink Jul 23 '09 at 20:07

My understanding is that Siebel, or at least some Siebel implementations, require IE6.

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Unfortunately my company currently uses Oracle CRM (previously Siebel) tech, as the new software developer I plan to replace it with an in house MSSQL2008 custom rolled app, but for what I've done poking around on their site using FireFox 3.5 some where I saw a page look retarded but I haven't been cleaved of any functionality I needed, albeit maybe I haven't used it enough since I try to avoid anything oracle the same way I work to avoid the plague. –  Chris Marisic Jul 24 '09 at 15:41

Is it still the case that Outlook 2003 Web Access requires IE6 for the fully-featured mode?

Anyway, I royally HATE IE6 as have a very nice application that has all sorts of nasty IE6 fixes for it, and is neccesary due to the following IE6 user breakdown:

  • Australia: 20%
  • UK: 30%
  • South Africa: 65%
  • Singapore: 35%
  • New Zealand: 25%

And most of these are corporate customers who require IE6 for some in-house applications (interesting that the more westernised countries have lower IE6 penetration, with South Africa being the highest by a long shot).

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thanks for the stats insight! you are right about South Africa that is quite the deviation! –  scunliffe Jul 24 '09 at 1:33
    
I should have mentioned that that's the stats for our own website, which attracts almost 100% corporate users –  Mark Henderson Jul 24 '09 at 4:18
    
Don't forget that you can't upgrade Windows 2000 any higher than IE6 - IE7/8 don't run on Win2K. –  Richard Gadsden Feb 24 '10 at 15:12

one of my clients is still on IE6... we have many custom internal web applications. we could upgrade them to work on IE7, but we are using 3rd party controls that don't work on IE6... so it's a deeper/longer process to upgrade (have to throw out those controls, and find new/better ones, or build our own).

the biggest pain is when someone calls for support and says "nothing is working" and I go to their desk and see that they somehow got Chrome installed and are trying to use it with our apps... and I have to laugh, "great browser! but you can't use it here".

@gbn: I hadn't seen IETabs before... that looks like a good step to get us moving into a better/more secure world. thanks!

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No web application has ever required IE6. Anything that requires IE6 is an IE6 application, not a web application.

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by "require IE6" I mean that the application won't work in IE7 or IE8... therefore the IT department is holding back on upgrading IE to maintain compatibility for an application. –  scunliffe Jul 23 '09 at 23:16
    
And I mean that anything that requires IE6 is, by definition, not a web application. –  womble Jul 24 '09 at 8:07
    
@womble It sounds like you're taking issue with the terminology - my guess is that's what the downvotes are about. It's a valuable comment (in adding clarity), but as an answer it really doesn't address what scunliffe is asking for help on. –  Kara Marfia Jul 24 '09 at 15:07
    
At first I DV'd womble but then I re-read his statement and realize the point he was making that by making an IE6 target application you've effectively made a bag-o-crap and it's not worth comparing to other web applications. –  Chris Marisic Jul 24 '09 at 15:43

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