Norwegian Websites Declare War on Internet Explorer 6
Several large websites in Norway have launched an advocacy campaign urging Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 users to upgrade their outdated web browsers.
Leading the charge is Finn.no, an eBay-like site which is apparently the largest site for buying and selling goods in all of Norway (Finn is Norwegian for “Find”). Earlier this week, Finn.no posted a warning on its webpage for visitors running IE6. The banner, seen at right, urges them to ditch IE6 and upgrade to Internet Explorer 7.
Dozens of other sites, including the influential tech news website Digi.no, have joined the campaign, but have widened the playing field by suggesting either upgrading to IE7 or switching to an alternative like Firefox, Safari or, of course, Norway’s own Opera browser.
The drive is spreading to other countries.
Sites in Sweden, Indonesia and Australia have joined in. Norwegian blogger Peter Haza is cataloging the participants, and an international wiki called “IE6 – DO NOT WANT” has been set up to track the spreading browsercide. There’s a Facebook group, too.
Even Microsoft is supporting the campaign. Norwegian news site Teknisk Ukeblad reports Thursday that Microsoft Norway’s Alveberg Isabella says, “We of course hope that our users follow us on [upgrading] to Internet Explorer 7.”
IE6, released in 2001, is the scourge of web programmers, user experience designers and technical support staff alike. The browser is stacked with quirks that cause web pages to render differently than all other browsers, and special considerations must be taken by web builders to accommodate users running IE6.
Most wish the browser would just go away, eliminating the need to continue supporting it. Numbers vary from country to country, but somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the web’s worldwide users are still running IE6 — some because they simply don’t know any better, some because they are stuck with whatever software their companies install on their machines. Finn.no notes that 17% of its users are running IE6. Numbers like that are currently too large for web builders to ignore.
All of this is happening in the shadow of the European Union Competition Commission’s examination of Microsoft. The EU’s anti-trust group, spurred by a December 2007 complaint by Opera Software, is questioning Microsoft’s practice of bundling IE with Windows on PC desktops. The group is considering forcing Microsoft and its European hardware partners to offer users the choice of installing one of several browsers when they first boot up a newly-purchased PC.