Salesforce.com bails on Internet Explorer

There is a growing trend among popular websites to end support for Internet Explorer 6 once and for all.  It’s actually something that’s been going on for awhile now and any web developer will tell you its about time.  The difference is now the big boys are doing it.  Some big companies that have started are:

  • Youtube: which now informs you that your browser sucks and recommends one of the latest ones and is predicted to drop support all together.

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There are even sites out there with a single purpose of spreading the word to kill IE 6 usage:

Up until recently I thought this was just a bunch of tech sites complaining and that the mainstream B2B sites would still have to labor on supporting the bastard child of browsers.  That is until I got the following email….


 

Dear Customer,

At salesforce.com, seamless upgrades are a top priority, and we strive to provide open communication whenever we make changes that may impact our customers. You are receiving this email because we have identified you as system administrator for a Salesforce.com organization that will be impacted by an upcoming change to our support policy for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 (IE6).  We have identified that one or more users in your organization logged into salesforce.com using IE6 between September 2009 and December 2009.

What is the change?

With the Spring '10 release, salesforce.com will begin delivering features that will not be supported for use with IE6, including our new user interface theme.  In subsequent releases throughout 2010, we may release additional features and UI enhancements that will also not be supported on IE6.  This is all in preparation for a full de-support of IE6, which is tentatively planned for end of calendar year 2010.

Why is salesforce.com doing this?

There are several reasons we are ending support for IE6:

  • IE6 is less secure.  Multiple security vulnerabilities in IE6 have been exploited over the years.  The most recent attacks against Google, Yahoo, and other companies specifically targeted vulnerabilities easily accessible in IE6 but much more difficult to exploit in IE7 and IE8—leading the Microsoft Security Response Center to recommend that users of IE6 upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer.
  • IE6 is slow.  Of all of our supported browsers, IE6 provides the slowest and least rewarding user experience for our customers.
  • IE6 is a “last generation” browser.  IE6 was first released in August 2001.  As an obsolete, non-standard platform, IE6 is a difficult browser on which to develop and support the rich internet applications our customers have come to expect.

What action do I need to take?

You and your company's IT administrators should plan and/or upgrade your users to IE7, IE8, or another supported browser by the end of calendar year 2010

What will happen if I take no action?

Your organization can continue to use IE6 in the Spring '10 release. However, beginning with the Spring '10 release, salesforce.com will make available several new opt-in features that are not supported on IE6.  Your organization has the option of leaving these features inactive until you have upgraded to a supported browser.

How can I get more information?

Please contact salesforce.com Customer Support with any questions you may have.

Best regards,
Salesforce Customer Support
support@salesforce.com


Salesforce.com, which is probably one of the biggest websites for businesses, is dropping support for IE6 and they actually took a couple cheap shots as they kicked IE out the door.  Some highlights:

  • Slow
  • last generation
  • obsolete
  • non-standard
  • difficult
  • Slowest and least rewarding user experience

As I don’t really disagree with any of these statements, I do think it’s sort of a kick in the pants for a browser that is almost 9 years old and one that was never built to handle modern websites. 

The blame can probably fall on the shoulders of Microsoft for not being more aggressive about encouraging users to upgrade, but also on the web community for not urging it’s uninformed users about what they are missing out on.  Imagine someone like my mother who has a hand-me-down laptop with Windows XP on it that seems to work fine for her needs.  How is she supposed to know that her browser sucks?  Luckily she has me, so when I come home for Xmas I set the situation straight, but not everyone has me for a son.  We need to do better about understanding our audience and informing them without insulting their lack of tech prowess. 

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