Internet Explorer 6 may have taken its own sweet time to die given that the browser's security flaws are the stuff of legend, but it appears that the 'Net as a whole is finally ready to move on. While IE6 still accounts for up to 20 percent of the browser market according to some metrics, its share drops dramatically once Chinese users are filtered out of the equation (IE6 has an estimated 50 percent of the Chinese market.)
Consumers have moved away from Internet Explorer 6 for years—it did more to popularize the use of Firefox than Mozilla ever could. The enterprise segment is traditionally seen as resistant to shorter upgrade cycles, but new information indicates businesses have been upgrading to IE7 and IE8 much more readily than previously thought.
Big business use of the deprecated browser is now estimated in the single digits. Google recently announced it intends to stop supporting IE6 starting with Google Docs and Google Sites. Hopefully Google's decision will jolt the last of IE6's users towards an upgrade—any upgrade. IE6 use has dropped steadily for years, thanks to campaigns from Microsoft and other vendors to push customers away from it, the availability of IE7 and IE8 (IE8 having actually eclipsed IE7 at this point), and increased competition from the likes of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Opera, of course, is still bumping along with two percent of the market and, we imagine, a dartboard emblazoned with the faces of the original Firefox development team.