Usage of Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) has dropped below one per cent in the US.
Announced by Microsoft this week, when the software giant baked a cake to mark the drop in usage of the out-dated browser, Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer marketing said: “As we kick off 2012, we call on the rest of the world: make it your New Year's resolution to end IE6 and move to a modern browser like IE8 or IE9.”
Microsoft launched the IE6 countdown website in March to encourage users to drop the browser, which was released in August 2001, by detailing how much the browser was used around the world. It is still prominent in China, which takes a 25 per cent share of global usage, while the UK accounts for 1.4 per cent.
Capriotti said he was thrilled that usage in the US had joined Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Ukraine, Portugal and the Philippines in falling below one per cent, calling these countries "the Champions' Circle".
“We hope this means more developers and IT pros can consider IE 6 a low priority at this point and stop spending their time having to support such an outdated browser," he said.
A vulnerability in IE6 was pinpointed as the reason for the Aurora attacks two years ago; Microsoft said at the time that the vulnerability was an invalid pointer reference within IE and, under certain conditions, it was possible for the invalid pointer to be accessed after an object was deleted.
Since then Microsoft has tried to educate internet users on IE6's effective obsolesence by likening using it to drinking out-of-date milk and promoting the countdown website.
However, in August 2010, it was revealed that the UK government was persisting with IE6 - it said there was "no evidence that upgrading web browsers will make users more secure". However, two weeks later the Department of Communities and Local Government said it was looking into upgrading to the latest version of IE.
Microsoft has pledged to officially scrap support for IE6 in April 2014, when it will also end support for Windows XP. A number of sites, including YouTube, are no longer compatible with the IE6 browser.