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App designer turns Microsoft's own 'kill IE6' campaign against IE8, IE9

Gregg Keizer | April 3, 2013
A Web and app designer has stolen a page out of Microsoft's own playbook in urging users to abandon three of the company's four newest browsers because Microsoft is "standing in the way" of progress.

Richter cited "canvas," the HTML5 element for scripting bitmapped images, as a prime example. The Apple-introduced standard was adopted by Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera Software's Opera browser in relatively short order between 2004 and 2008. "The thing is, it's not supported in IE8, it came in IE9 in 2011," said Richter. "Given the significant market share of IE8, canvas is still not widely used. Companies just opt not to use canvas at all, even though it would be available to 85% of users. And that's the main problem here. IE is simply blocking the development of the whole World Wide Web."

While Microsoft has pledged to retire IE6 in April 2014 -- alongside Windows XP -- it will continue to support IE7 until 2017 and IE8 until 2020. XP users will, however, not receive security updates to any Microsoft browser after April 8, 2014.

Microsoft may have used the adjective "modern" to describe each of its last three browsers, IE8, IE9 and IE10, but Richter wasn't buying it.

"Microsoft is obviously closing the gap now, and IE10 is almost a modern browser," Richter said, referring to Windows 8's default browser, and the one now being pushed to Windows 7 PCs. "But Chrome and Firefox are moving fast, and there are still several cool features not supported in IE10, [such as] Stream API or SPDY, [so] I am still committed to move people away even from IE9 and IE10."

SPDY -- for "speedy" -- is a Google-driven protocol designed to load pages faster and more securely. Both Chrome and Firefox, the latter since 2012's Firefox 15, support SPDY, as does Opera. There are reports that Microsoft may enable support for SPDY in IE11, the browser slated to ship alongside this summer's update to Windows 8, code-named "Blue" but likely officially designated Windows 8.1.

Essentially, Richter wants IE to either get with the program or get out of the way.

"Everything that is currently introduced by both Chrome and Firefox becomes de facto standard, and Microsoft is just standing in the way by their slow implementation," Richter said.

But his campaign to ditch IE8 was quixotic at best, if browser management developer Browsium is to be believed. According to Browsium, enterprises are standardizing on the four-year-old browser. "They're doing that in part because they'll have XP and Windows 7 side by side," said Gary Schare, president and chief operating officer of Browsium, in an earlier interview.


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