Will Internet Explorer 7 finally put IE6 to rest?

Internet Explorer.Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Team reports on a new IE installer release. They’ve changed a couple of defaults, updated their tutorials… and dropped the requirement for Windows Genuine Advantage validation:

Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users. With today’s “Installation and Availability Update,” Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation and will be available to all Windows XP users.

As much as I prefer alternatives like Firefox and Opera, I’ve been frustrated at the relatively slow uptake of IE7. It’s just insane that 6 years after its release, we’re still stuck designing for IE6 as the world’s most-used browser.

So who’s still running IE6?

  1. People running older versions of Windows that can’t run IE7, and who haven’t switched to something else. (This is a pretty small percentage, judging by OS stats.)
  2. People who don’t know how to upgrade to IE7, or why they should.
  3. People who actually want to stay with IE6 (whether for technical reasons or just stubbornness)
  4. People who would be happy to upgrade to IE7, except they can’t/won’t run WGA (on principle, or because it’s broken on their system, or because their OS is pirated).

I don’t know how big each group is, but Microsoft seems to think it’s worth going after #4.

It’ll be interesting to see whether there’s a jump in IE7’s marketshare relative to IE6. Maybe we’ll reach that next milestone sooner than I expected.

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6 thoughts on “Will Internet Explorer 7 finally put IE6 to rest?

  1. Andrea

    You forgot #5 – people who’s workplace is so backward that they won’t let you install ie7. Hell we just got Windows XP service pack 2 last month.

    Reply
  2. Kelson Post author

    Heh. I was sort of including that in #3, but you’re right, a distinction needs to be made between stubborn users and stubborn admins.

    (Seriously — last month? What, do they have a 3-year waiting period for software updates?)

    Reply
  3. gadgets

    I think there is a large group of people that fit category 4. It’s because of them that Microsoft is losing marketshare to FF and alternative browsers which in the long run results in lost revenue.

    Hence the need to regain some of that marketshare with this move.

    Reply
  4. Kelson Post author

    Is it really “regaining” marketshare to transfer more of IE6’s share to IE7? Or do you think this will bring people back who have already switched to Firefox?

    Reply
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  6. Mandy

    How about #6, people who don’t trust Windows Update? I was one of the poor unfortunates running Zone Alarm when Windows Update did its thing whilst I was asleep in bed – and I woke up to no internet connection. “I’m sure I had one before I went to bed!”

    Fortunately for me I am in a multicomputer household, so I could use a different computer to access the internet to see what the problem was. See http://download.zonealarm.com/bin/free/pressReleases/2008/LossOfInternetAccessIssue.html

    Reply

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