Is it Too Soon to Dump IE 6/7/8 Support?

The folks over on the jQuery Project created quite a stir when they announced that jquery 2.0 would no longer support “oldIE”. Some are cheering “About time!”. Others are saying it’s “a sad day”.

But really, isn’t it time to let them go? Let’s look at the data and see.

Depending on what source you look at, older versions of IE (prior to 9) account for 12-16% of the browser market share worldwide as of June 2012. In the US the number is at the higher end. This chart from Statcounter.com shows how the market share for IE 8 and IE7 have progressed over the last year.

Global Browser Stats

The trend for both browsers is clear. Both saw usage reduced by more than 50% in the last year. No one can argue that their market share will ever increase again - at best they could level off for a short period. More likely though is that both browsers will continue to see massive reduction in usage. Many of us are wondering why anyone is still using them anyway!

There are pockets though, of companies and government agencies that are holding strong to their Windows XP platforms. Those folks can’t upgrade their browsers since IE9 is not not compatible with Windows XP. Government is notoriously slow to change, but the impending end of support for XP is less than 2 years away. According to Microsoft, a typical deployment cycle takes 18-36 months. In their words: “...if your organization has not started the migration to a modern PC, you are late.”

Add to that bit of news the likelihood that hardware manufacturers will stop supporting XP in 2012, and the expectation should be the trend for market share of oldIE will plummet.

Of course there will be holdouts. Organizations that can’t afford to make the transition or just aren’t prepared to do it. If you’re a web developer for one of these organizations, then you’ll have to continue living the nightmare of support for oldIE. But don’t make the rest of the web pay the price.

Streamlining jQuery 2.0 to eliminate oldIE is a move in the right direction. The way people use the web is changing and the jQuery Project is just following suit.