For those of you who are not computer geeks, this may all seem a bit esoteric. But in the power plays between Google and Microsoft, this is big news. I received an email today as an administrator of a Google Apps domain that Google has now officially begun the process of terminating support for Internet Explorer 6.0, an old version of that browser that goes back almost ten years now and whose frustrations have been the bain of many web developers.
Microsoft has released preliminary guidance to mitigate the problem and is working on a formal software update.
So far, Microsoft “has not seen widespread customer impact, rather only targeted and limited attacks exploiting Internet Explorer 6”.
Even without this fact, there has always been ample security justification for ending support for IE6. But that Microsoft was aware of the problem means once again, Microsoft has a big black eye on the basis of security problems. And that means opportunity for Google, whose Android OS and Chrome browsers both stand at the ready to pick up the slack left by wary security admins who by now are getting pretty frustrated with Microsoft’s lack of security meticulousness. Add to this the fact that a major player (Google) just announced that it will no longer be supporting the venerated browser – meaning that not Google-supported pages alone, but entire swaths of the Internet will no longer render correctly – and you’ve got a lot of pressure to dump Internet Explorer at the least… and while they’re at it, maybe Microsoft Operating Systems altogether.
So while a lot of this is technical stuff that only us geeks get into, keep a eye out for Google- and Microsoft-related news in the next year. Things are going to get interesting. Google’s full statement is reprinted below:
Dear Google Apps admin,
We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.
Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.
Starting this week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser. We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.
In 2009, the Google Apps team delivered more than 100 improvements to enhance your product experience. We are aiming to beat that in 2010 and continue to deliver the best and most innovative collaboration products for businesses.
Thank you for your continued support!
The Google Apps team