Like it or Not, Internet Explorer 6 Lives on in Corporate IT

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Despite repeated calls to stop using Internet Explorer 6, the browser continues to hold a market share similar to, or even higher than, more advanced browsers such as Safari and Chrome.


Chitika, a search-based online advertising network, conducted a new study that tracked the hour-by-hour market shares of the leading browsers. And you guessed it: IE6 was ranked the fourth-most-used browser (13 percent) during peak business hours of the day. Use of IE6 drops to "less than 6 percent" after business hours.


Alden DoRosario, Chitika's CTO observed in a blog entry that, "It almost looks like individual Internet users are more tech-advanced at home than the IT departments where they work." Rubbing salt into the wound, the hypothesis that IE6 is lurking in corporate workstations is further confirmed when comparing the weekday's use pattern with the weekend. IE6 loses half its market share to Firefox and IE8 on weekends.


So are corporate IT departments unaware of the aged browser's appalling security record and keeping the vulnerability-ridden browser alive out of sheer ignorance?


Well, yes and no. Yes, it is likely that some companies are deliberately keeping IE6 alive, but no, it's not due to incompetence. The explanation is relatively simple, though: Some legacy Web applications only work in IE6. These applications might have been created by external vendors who no longer support the product -- or simply are no longer around -- or more often than not, are custom in-house applications built over time.


Given the quirks of IE6, "upgrading" these in-house applications to work on a newer browser likely would entail a complete rewrite. Since it makes no sense to rewrite a system to regain the exact same functionality, businesses would want to add new features. And before you know it, the entire rewriting task becomes a lengthy and expensive new project - one that never gets started.


Is your small and mid-sized business one of those "stuck" with IE6 as a result of legacy applications?