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Google Apps drop support for IE9 (googlesystem.blogspot.com)
251 points by ritchiea on Nov 6, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 179 comments

The only way the web can move forward is if we stop supporting archaic browsers that can't support half the features CSS3 and HTML5 have to offer. Google are the only company game enough to make such a move, they should be praised for this. They've consistently helped push the web forward, IE10 is exciting and a decent version of Internet Explorer, I can't wait until I can build for IE10+

Websockets, HTML5 File API, FileReader API, XMLHttpRequest 2, Web Workers, IndexedDB, requestAnimationFrame, JS Typed Arrays, PageVisibility and a whole list of other awesome things that IE10+ supports. I'm drooling thinking of all of these new API's I soon will be able to use in my web applications without needing shims.

Man, I remember thinking how good it would be when I could stop supporting IE6 ... I think it was last week.

IE6 opens up some painful wounds for me. It was a dark dark time for the web. Still hurts thinking back to the use of transparent PNG's and all the issues to get them to work!

I don't think it was. IE pushed a lot of boundaries back in the day and it was up to others to innovate. Just look at how far we have come since Firefox was released.

I understand that MS using it's dominant position was bad, but it's exactly what Google does too. It's business and you take every advantage you have.

Like Mahn said, MS fell asleep. The problem wasn't IE6 per se, it's that IE6 didn't get upgraded significantly over a 6 year period. Market dominance and stagnation really damaged the web for many many years.

I'm happy to crap on Google when they deserve it but Chrome has had around 34 public releases over the last 5 years.

> IE pushed a lot of boundaries back in the day

And then fell asleep for years. If it hadn't been for Mozilla, people would still be using IE6.

Yes, I know that. But competition drives the market and innovation, not just the browser market but every single market in existence.

The reason, as I see it, that up to IE6 there was innovation was because there was competition with Netscape. Until Mozilla turned up again they didn't have that same need to throw money and resources behind a product. I wish they had, but boards of directors and shareholders may well have argued otherwise. I'm glad Mozilla turned up when it did.

It would be nice to drop the archaic languages and technologies as well, e.g. CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

"The policy is not useful for Internet Explorer, which doesn't update automatically and has limited OS support."

First point is wrong, from IE 11 the default is automatic updates.

The second point is an unusual way to phrase it...

On the overall topic, I find this strange. Google Docs seems to make efforts to target Microsoft Office users by writing importers for what are very complex formats. It then pretty much cuts itself off from most medium and larger Microsoft based companies, very few of which, in my experience, are up to IE 10.

I wonder if this says something about them really targeting the small, but fastest growing companies and anything really big is nice, but not the priority.

That description is pretty accurate. 58% of the market is using Internet Explorer currently. Of Internet Explorer users, the breakdown by version is:

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.0: 2.57%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 10.0: 32.63%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 : 16.34%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 : 37.48%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 : 2.26%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 : 8.49%

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 : 0.23%

(Source: NetMarketShare. Note that this is global so skewed a bit by all the pirated copies of Windows XP in China, etc)

IE is a bit of a mess browser-wise because we've nearly always had a ton of users not on the latest version. The reason? IE doesn't automatically update to a later version. Every other browser on Windows and Linux does. The only other exception is Safari on Mac OS X, which has specific versions artificially pegged to the OS like IE is with Windows. That's why we have 38% of IE users on an outdated browser like IE8 and 8.5% on IE6. Like IE8, IE9 is lacking in many important areas that users of Firefox, Google Chrome, etc don't need to worry about. IE9 lacks several CSS3 tags that have been supported for a while by Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. IE9 lacks columns support, animation support, transform, and transition support. IE10 and IE11 properly support it.

In short, Google can keep making Google Apps better by dropping support for dead browsers like IE9. I mean dead as in they're not being developed further. They're stuck with broken or non-existent CSS3 support. And, as pointed out by others, the type of organization that's going to try out Google Apps as a MS Office replacement, isn't the type of organization that's going to be stuck on IE8/9.

Remember, Google has access to their own numbers from actual users of Google Apps. I wouldn't be surprised if IE9 usage looks much different for them.

They also have a sales force that talks to large potential and current customers, and I'm sure their feedback is taken into account.

Sure, but that kind of data can be misleading. If your app works like a dog's breakfast in IE9 already (and it does), then hardly anybody using IE9 will be using it. That doesn't mean there aren't companies stuck on IE8 who would love to use Google but can't.

Or the companies that force the use of IE 8 or 9 are unlikely to be the kind of companies that want cloud apps.

I don't understand how you can be "stuck" using IE8. If you are in a position to decide to use google apps surely you are in a position to require IT to update the damned browser.

Edit: Not as clear as intended, making a company level decision on one IT choice should surely allow you influence on another.

> update the damned browser

IE8 is the latest version of IE supported on XP, so for people who don't control the OS, they are on the "latest version" already.

That's true, but I think 'Windows = users on IE' is not as much as a force as it used to be. Corporates who have SOEs are on newer versions, smaller organizations don't seem to mind (and sometimes provide) Chrome installs.

But if it works that bad on IE9, how is it going to work on IE8?

Google has access to at least half of the web from their free analytics.

NetMarketShare's stats wildly contradict everyone else's [1]. If you believe them, IE is used almost 3 times as much as Chrome/Firefox. If you believe anyone else, Chrome is ahead of IE.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#Sum...

One of the reasons that IE marketshare is so hard to measure is that it depends on whether business users visit the site. You can see this if you can get data that isn't filtered. The only public data I know like that is Clicky [1]. Note the sawtooth wave caused by users who use IE7/8 (and now IE9) during the week but some other browser during the weekend. So IE8 marketshare is almost 2x higher during the week than on weekends.


The same wikipedia page gives the methodology applied for those calculations.

- StatsCounter (hits, not unique visitors)

- W3Counter (last 15,000 views from 50,000 websites)

- Net Applications (stats from 40k websites having 160 million unique visitors per month)

- Wikipedia (page requests)

Only NetApplications is using unique visitor stats, the rest are tracking views. The results are in line with what most people would assume; Chrome and Firefox users are more active users. But in terms of number of unique visitors IE is still far ahead.

> The results are in line with what most people would assume; Chrome and Firefox users are more active users.

It's not true. top.mail.ru (large Russian counter, ~250M views per day) publishes both number of visitors and number of views. Visits/visitor ratio are about the same for different browser families. Also, stats from top.mail.ru are very similar to the stats from StatCounter on Russian Federation [2], while Net Applications hide their per country totals behind pay wall, and their China-weighted totals are completely outlandish.

[1] http://top.mail.ru/browsers?id=250&period=0&date=&aggregatio...

[2] http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-RU-monthly-201210-201310

The same wikipedia page has a lengthy discussion on the questionable nature of NetApplication's stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Usage_share_of_web_browser...

NetMarketShare's stats are more accurate than any of the others listed there. The mere fact that W3Counter, StatCounter, and Wikimedia are listed there shows that whoever compiled it has no understanding of global web stats. Chrome is only the dominant browser in two countries and elsewhere only dominant amongst a specific subset of demographics.

They are not "more accurate". Just different. They measure 2 different things. I think pretty much any website owner can tell you their stats look a lot closer to what StatCounter says than what Net Apps says, though.

If that's true, maybe you could correct the Wikipedia article? Honestly, I'll hold my hands up: I don't have an in-depth understanding of how each of those stats companies gathers their data and, having heard widely-reported statements about Chrome exceeding IE's market share, my natural instinct was to accept the majority's figures over the minority. If I - and, no doubt, many others - are being misled, it would be nice to correct our misconceptions.

I gave up editing Wikipedia years ago after someone kept subtly vandalizing a page for one of my big websites and removing mentions of it on other pages which had been placed organically by multiple editors in favor of a competitor's site in another country operating illegally. To the point that demonstrably wrong information was in wikipedia and demonstrably correct information was removed. This went on for months and there wasn't a thing I could do about it, so I just stopped bothering. Essentially, most pages wind up self-selecting among people with similar viewpoints or people who feel like sticking it out the longest in edit wars.

As far as the wikipedia stats links, jeswin correctly points out why the other measures are inferior (and useless when talking about overall web usage) above. You're free to update the page to reflect this, but I think I've had enough of wikipedia egos and edit wars to last a lifetime.

> NetMarketShare's stats are more accurate than any of the others listed there

On every site I've monitored (none of which cater to technical users, one of which is aggressively non-US-centric), NetMarketShare's stats wildly inflate IE's market-share, particularly internationally. That's not to say that they're fictitious but rather that they reflect a certain viewpoint and methodology which is only relevant for a few customers. I've found Akamai's numbers to track very closely with what I measure:


They don't publish technical details about their methodology but I suspect you're seeing a sampling bias: NetMarketShare is used by a modest number of large companies, almost exclusively North American and mostly related to media, and their stats appear to depend on an embedded JavaScript tracker:


There are some apparent technical botches: they didn't appear to use a CDN at all — when I last traced counter.hitslink.com in the spring everything went to Los Angeles and was correspondingly slower globally but it now[1] appears that they might be using CloudFront — or set Cache-Control headers, so if you're outside North America or on a slow connection you were going to see a higher rate of their JS failing to load and for the tracker ping back not to load by the time the user navigates to a new page:


(In contrast, the Akamai numbers reflect direct HTTP traffic for sites like microsoft.com, iTunes, etc. so they avoid the issues related to JS trackers but do require care to filter robots which spoof a browser UA)

They also listed some major sites like CNN or Mozilla which didn't use that JS bug so they either have an unadvertised bulk log delivery service or are portraying smaller side sites as representative of the massive high-traffic main sites.

The real question is the way they interpret the data, and in particular the weighting scheme. Because “everyone knows” Internet Explorer is common in China, they weight the numbers to represent this but you're simply hoping their usage of the CIA Internet Traffic by Country report is accurate:


The numbers I can measure are very close to Akamai, showing Chrome tied with IE even in China:


1. http://www.webpagetest.org/result/131107_2C_PZK/1/details/

Akamai's numbers are simple % of requests, which means 'hits'. So, a single Chrome user visiting 10 pages that happen to make 100 CDN requests is counted 10x as much as an IE user that visits 2 pages that happen to make 10 CDN requests. In short, the numbers are useless if you're looking for % of visitors.

NetMarketShare uses visitors, which is preferable if you're looking at percentage of users, which is what we're discussing here.

Your point is currently technically correct for the public dataset but it's not significant unless the two browser populations have highly variable usage patterns, which is only going to be true for something like a Chrome fan site. As an example, Google Analytics shows visits, unique visitors or page-views all placing Chrome at 85% relative to IE in China within 0.5%.

Again, I'm not saying that NetMarketShare is lying – simply that it's critical that you make decisions based on data which is relevant to your particular site and that you have multiple data sources to compare and make sure that what you're seeing is a real trend and not an artifact of your analysis.

Those statistics are for the general population. The argument the parent comment was making that a lot of medium to larger sized corporations are still using IE <10.0 so Google is losing that market by not supporting those browsers.

The companies that have draconian policies requiring a specific version of IE are also probably the same organizations that want to run their own mail, sharepoint, etc. So it probably doesn't have a dramatic impact.

I think that's missing the point. If a "Microsoft-based company" is mandating IE9 and disallowing browser installs, they're not the sort of shop likely to be trying new office suite software (!) any time soon. Conservative markets are conservative, in general you simply can't market replacement products to them directly.

The only people switching older systems to Docs are the people willing to try new stuff, more or less by definition. A Chrome or Firefox install for these folks isn't nearly as invasive as junking Word and Excel is.

This isn't strictly true. I work in education and for a large part of our state the network and operating environment is managed by the education department, but services are largely left up to schools. This means we're left with IE9 as the default web browser but lots of students use Google Docs for their work (not to mention staff). I know other states look at or are using Docs across the board.

And Chrome/Firefox aren't installed on those machines?

No. The story I've gotten when I pursued this with the department is the update cycle is too rapid to bother and automated deployment too difficult to manage.

The kids that use them tend to install Chrome themselves since it will install into their profile and they don't need permissions to the rest of the system. A couple of the kids use Firefox Portable.

Since a sad number of our staff (and a fair few students) have trouble just logging into a computer, this isn't really an option for the masses.

but this misses the point that often in these companies what you can install on your machine is incredibly locked down, which makes SaaS the only way to easily get new apps you can actually use. You may very well have users who want new software, but the only way they can do so is through the web, since installing new desktop software requires rolling a boulder up a hill.

Or, just wait until your SaaS is cutoff by the company firewall, something done at large companies with products like DropBox, Google Docs, Evernote, etc...

Yes we do this and we need to keep doing it. This is because despite masses of training, people still think it's fine to upload confidential documents and personal information to public dropbox folders and the like and stick our code on public github repositories...

Only the firewall can account for idiots well enough.

Sounds like your company has far bigger issues than people sharing confidential information.

No not really. Sounds like your ego doesn't match the reality of a medium sized business.

Hello! Welcome to HN.

You make some good points about the ability of naive users to do really scary, damaging things; and about the frustrations of working in medium to big businesses.

Unfortunately, you do so in an unhelpful way. Please consider editing your comments. (Feel free to ignore me or tell me to fuck off. I'm just a user with no power).

Not a new user. Been here for 3 years. I was hellbanned before for saying something positive about Microsoft :)

Get your point though!

I don't think you're actually correct anymore. There's a huge push going on in enterprise right now to get everyone upgraded from WinXP to at least (and typically) Win7, and many companies are including an upgrade to IE10 or IE11 in part of the desktop image. Generally speaking, unless there are specific reasons for requiring an older version of the browser, they're going with the newest available and allowing it to auto-update.

You should feel good knowing that the predominant reason why this sea change has occurred is because of developers and the pace of the modern web: devs are refusing to target old versions of browsers, especially IE, anymore. In edge cases where a specific browser+version is required, that's pushed to the affected user(s) as a one-off.

My team, anecdotally, don't even test against IE for internal-only apps anymore. We make sure things work with FF & Chrome current and current-1 and that's it. For external facing apps we cross-test against IE current and current-1, too, but that's the minority of our work.

I thought IE updates through Windows Update?

Regardless, what a piece if shit! Just fired it up to check the version (it's version 9, apparently no Windows Update update) and it's so goddamn slow!

I'm now on 100mbps fiber, Firefox and Chrome are pretty much instant, IE takes 10 seconds to open the MSN page, and another 20 to perform a search from the address bar in Bing and open the first result (a Microsoft.com page!). Unbelievable.

I think you're doing something wrong. Even my low memory ceiling IE9 test VM doesn't behave like that and I'm on 12mbit ADSL.

Similar to when people believe that a new windows version boots faster than the other, a VM is not a real world test case. Typically windows performance degrades significantly over time in terms of program launch and boot up time. Try using that VM as your main computing environment for 8 months and then check IE launch time.

That's all uninformed hokum.

Firstly newer versions of windows do boot quicker. But TBH I don't reboot them. Workstations get left on. Laptops get hibernated so neither is much of a problem. That's a stupid metric. Anyway, read this: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/08/delivering-fas...

My primary laptop is running Windows 7 as installed in 2010. I haven't done a thing to it. It's fine. I've gone through Visual Studio 2010 - 2013 on it as well. It has a full SQL server installation and several virtual machines. Still like lightning.

Not only that I have a Dell workstation sitting in the office that hasn't been touched since installed in 2010 that I use for 4-5 hours a day via RDP over a shitty connection. Absolutely fine.

Windows is only slow if you fuck something up, install a million toolbars or are a mac user or Linux user trying for trendy Microsoft bashing for upvotes.

Every windows system I've seen boots more and more slowly over time. It's not 'uninformed hokum', it's a consequence of installing programs that add startup items and registry entries. There is much lousy software for Windows (besides all the spyware with which the average consumer PC is ridden) which fails to cleanup after uninstallation, and also many programs which add startup items unnecessarily. I've seen many people install a new version of windows and marvel at its amazing boot time. Then they actually install antivirus, etc and a few months go by... And the measurable fact is that soon it takes as long to boot as their old computer.

You, unlike most people who maintain windows machines, probably know what you're doing. You're probably not installing and uninstalling a tom of shoddy consumer software. From your description, you're not - so your use is one anecdote regarding an atypical case and not particularly convincing.

The article is interesting, but I'm referring to my personal experience with windows 98-7. Microsoft also wrote articles about the amazing work they were doing to make each of those faster, etc while in real world results, each version performed almost exactly the same as the previous version. I believe that no matter what they do, the challenge is to prevent a legion of developers of poor windows software from screwing it up.

OK, it could've been that I opened it for the first time in a year, but still, there are no addons, no history, no bookmarks, nothing - a new Firefox or Chrome installation never behaved like this. It's on an SSD, too, so what could be the issue then?

I have to agree with csmuk. I have four browsers installed on my laptop (Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and IE) and IE does not take 10 seconds to open the MSN page and Bing searches return results instantly. Something is wrong with your system.

Maybe it would be fast enough if I used it semi-regularly, but it's true what they say, it's the best browser for downloading any other browser :-)...

First point is wrong, from IE 11 the default is automatic updates.

Actually, I think that is from IE 10, or at least so it is on my machine.

Even if the default is to automatically update starting at IE 11 it's irrelevant given that IE 11 is the newest version. Although it is a welcome change going forward.

Alternatively, they may just not have thought about it in that much detail.

Yep, I'm betting on unintended consequence rather than deep plan here.

It would certainly be pretty unwise to exclude the best-paying customers intentionally.

I bet they've more than thought about it. I bet they have data that shows them their customers care more about using Google Docs than they care about using IE9, and will switch browsers.

I also don't think a company as big as Google would make such an important decision without considering the consequences. This decision wasn't made on a whim, they've clearly given it some thought.

Industry-leading professionals don't make technology decisions based on uneducated choices of big masses.


Slightly taken out of context, but still relevant: "The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife."

Are those updates frequent and steady feature updates, a la Chrome, or merely security and bug fix updates? The former would be a big change from previous IE. The latter would mean Google's statement is still basically accurate, and is what most Windows systems have been doing for years with Windows update.

I wonder if Google will ever end up in legal trouble for such a policy. While I don't support the notion that any company or person should have to support any version of OS or browser, knowing the massive effect that Google has on the web market and the fact that they have their own browser, if there is any attempt to specifically lock out older competing browsers, the FTC or EU might have questions about that. If you're pushing to be number one in a massive market, you have to play by different rules (as Microsoft found out in the 90's).

Google hasn't been playing nice with Microsoft for a while (see how many Google apps are in the Windows Phone store, the issue where they locked out IE Mobile from viewing Google Maps, or how they treat Windows Phone trying to interface with YouTube). In a way it's nice to see Microsoft reaping what they've sown so long ago, but in another way it's incredibly frustrating from an end user perspective to be someone who likes Microsoft software (such as Windows Phone) and also enjoy using Google services like Maps and Youtube.

Google should be careful with how much they're pushing against Microsoft, especially with Microsoft's new market position versus Google. Microsoft is hardly the monopoly anymore.

Google doesn't have monopoly power in the office or e-mail hosting markets, so nothing they do with their apps product can be an abuse of monopoly power. You don't have to play by different rules until you have that power, not while you're aspiring to it. They're not pushing #1 in the browser market either for that matter. Chrome is running on around 1 in 3 devices, and has been losing share to Internet Explorer the past few months.



The links you posted literally have Chrome as #1.

Being in position #1 doesn't make a monopoly.

Google is doing the world a big favor with this, forcing people to upgrade to new browsers and defragmenting the web as a whole... not to mention making life a hell of alot easier for all us web developers. Microsoft can just make their browser autoupdate like everyone else is doing.

I'm very happy that at DHS CBP, I don't have to support IE<10 anymore as of a short while ago. It's announcements like these from major names in the industry that help us convince IT folks in the fed to drop support for the old and busted and upgrade to the new hotness...

Still have to have stuff working for IE 7 and below (<0.7%) though pretty degraded. But for us IE8 is still at 8%, only losing to IE10 with 11%. At least FF has more than IE (39% to 24%)

Same here, IE8 accounts for ~10% of our audience.

But if they don't, ironically, google may be helping microsoft by encouraging users to upgrade their PC.

And there's no sign that MS will ship new browsers to old platforms.

XP has 6 months life left, after that I suspect most 'enterprise' web app developers will drop support for IE9, I know we certainly will be.

I'd love to be able to stop supporting IE 8, the gap between 8 and 9 is almost as big a jump as 6 to 7, but I don't see that happening until Windows 7 support is no longer offered. Windows 7 came with IE 8 preinstalled and no automatic updates from that to higher versions. People are still buying Windows 7 machines.

Dropping IE 9 support isn't even on the horizon for me.

N.B. The company I work for sells to US k-12 schools.

Windows 7 automatic updates include Internet Explorer updates by default: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/gg615599.aspx http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/jj898508.aspx

IE9 was optional (users were presented with a dialog and they could decline installing it), while IE10 was automatic, no questions asked.

Alas, numbers of browser share say that this process is not working as smooth as MS would hope.

I think the thing is that there is forgotten and hated windows vista, that can update only to IE9, thus leaving it as smallest common denominator after XP end of life.

Do you mean you'll drop support for IE8? XP never supported IE9 as far as I know.

Sorry, yes. I am going mad! A long day in front of the screen.

I was hoping you'd come up with some reasonable explanation why it would be ok to drop support for IE9 as well ;)

I think (hope) most people are making those decisions based on actual analytics data and customer needs versus maintenance cost. I still get a fair bit of IE7 traffic, and there hasn't been a "good" reason to run that for quite a while.

Of course, users can also simple adopt a modern browser, rather than updating their system. Additionally, if Microsoft doesn't support modern browsers for old operating systems this may deteriorate the Windows experience, which may lead to desktop/laptop conversions to Ubuntu.

IE is 58% of the global desktop market, so monopoly rules would not apply.

Google similarly locks out old versions of Chrome and Firefox as well due to not supporting modern CSS3/HTML5/JS standards.

Remember, Google isn't locking IE out at all. Both IE10 and IE11 will continue to be supported. Google's stated policy is to support the current and prior major release of all supported browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari). Microsoft itself has a similar policy of only supporting the relatively modern versions in their online Office suite. They don't support IE8 but do support IE9. That means Windows XP users can't use IE to access Microsoft's online office suite.

> I wonder if Google will ever end up in legal trouble for such a policy.

Why would they? On what basis? Also, even Microsoft doesn't want anyone to support old versions of IE. Microsoft wants to sell Windows licenses, remember?

This market if office software, and web enabled applications. Microsoft most certainly are the closest to a monopoly in office software, how many companies buy Word simply to open files sent to them?

Well hopefully zero, since Microsoft gives away free software to view Word docs (plus other apps for Excel and PPT): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4

In practice, I'm sure lots of copies are sold for the reason you stated.

The problem with IE9 was released two years ago, it's last update was more than a year ago and I don't think it will get any more updates that are not security updates (I don't have time to look now but the updates it got were probably just security updates).

> I wonder if Google will ever end up in legal trouble for such a policy.

I don't think so. It's not like they're banning IE9- users from accessing their services. It's just that the content will probably look weird to them.

> if there is any attempt to specifically lock out older competing browsers

If its not current, I'm not sure that it is "competing" in the sense that would normally be relevant in antitrust/competition law.

And that would very quickly end up with the question of whether all this isn't greatly Microsoft's doing by dropping IE support for older versions of Windows.

This really doesn't make sense apart from for the sake of pushing Chrome, which is using the same bait and switch tactics that Microsoft used in the late 90's and early 00's. Don't be evil eh?

If you look at the FULL chart they reference[1], there are considerably more IE8 users than any Apple device for example and there are more IE8 and IE9 users combined than IE10.

IE8 users are likely on Windows XP as that's the last supported browser version on that. Bye bye XP users unless you install Chrome.

IE9 users are likely on Windows Vista as that's the last supported browser version on that. Bye bye Vista users unless you install Chrome.

This appears to be Google just being a dick, seeing an opportunity and forcing Chrome on people.

To be honest, and I really hate saying this, Microsoft are the only damn company left that has a reasonable support lifecycle these days. Literally everyone else makes a whooshing sound.

[1] http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-ww-monthly-201310... (stats are all bullshit on this anyway TBH).

Footnote: I'm posting this from Firefox on OpenBSD before I get accused of being a shill...

Wait, Google are being dicks because they continue to support XP, which Microsoft has abandoned, despite it still being widely used, but Microsoft is the only company with a reasonable support lifecycle? Something about that doesn't add up ...

They said on day one and in the EULA that it would be supported until 2012 (10 years). They extended that to 12 years to give people time to migrate. They've been more than reasonable.

Since XP came out, I've got married, had three children, owned two houses, owned 3 cars, have gone from a simple black and white Nokia phone that makes calls to a pocket cray, I've watches wars waged between many nation, I've got 160x the bandwidth on my internet connection, I have no CRTs any more, I can just sit down anywhere and get a WiFi connection and my entire library fits in my pocket,

That's a fuck of a long time. All these people really need to just stop whinging like babies and realise how long 12 years is.

Great, but there wasn't an update to Windows for 5 years after that and even when there was it too buggy to roll out in an enterprise. Windows 7 in 2009 was the first time there was a real upgrade for enterprises and 4 years isn't that long in an enterprise with 1000s of machines most of which will need hardware upgrades/replacing at that point.

Um, Firefox works just fine on XP and Vista, just like Chrome. I'm sure Google would be happy if people switched to Chrome for Docs, but they're not forcing anyone to.

But Google doesn't tell you to download Firefox on every other page they own across the entire internet.

They do so for Chrome. "Upgrade your browser", "Get a faster browser" and all that bullshit we laughed at MS for doing with MSIE.

But now it's Google doing it. Everywhere. With no anti-trust regulatory reactions in sight.

> But Google doesn't tell you to download Firefox on every other page they own across the entire internet.

Why shouldn't they advertise their own products? And why in hell do you think they should advertise Firefox? Are you advertising your competitor on your property?

> They do so for Chrome. "Upgrade your browser", "Get a faster browser" and all that bullshit we laughed at MS for doing with MSIE.

For an IE user, Chrome is certainly an upgrade. Both in security and speed.

> But now it's Google doing it. Everywhere. With no anti-trust regulatory reactions in sight.

Google doesn't have a monopoly in browsers so what are you talking about?

For an IE user, Chrome is certainly an upgrade. Both in security and speed.

I'm by no stretch an IE user, but MS have made great improvements to their browser. And some users may prefer it simply because it is familiar.

And excuse me for saying so, but as someone who values my privacy I trust Microsoft a lot more than Google. To me, Chrome is the web browser where everything I do is leaked directly to the NSA.

Sorry, but I don't consider that "secure" by any stretch of imagination.

Disregarding that, as a Firefox user though, I still get the same crap ads. Basically they are shown to everyone not using Chrome. And for my needs, I think Chrome is a significant downgrade compared to Firefox. By using the word "upgrade" Google is being disingenuous.

Google doesn't have a monopoly in browsers

But they do have a near monopoly on internet advertising and they are using it to push their own products in a borderline dishonest way. I mean... If Microsoft merely bundling a web-browser with their OS (as opposed to leaving users needing to fiddle with command-line FTP to download one) was bad enough to warrant regulation, I can't see how this significantly worse.

So basically your argument is that security is better on IE because you "trust" MS more than Google. (no proof)

I don't know how you came to this conclusion, but I don't need to trust in Google because I can check the source code myself (link: http://www.chromium.org/)

And yes, they have a near monopoly on advertising, but in this case they are not using their advertising network to boost their Chrome installs. (even if they did it would be legal as long as they don't discriminate against their competition)

So basically your argument is that security is better on IE because you "trust" MS more than Google. (no proof)

My argument is that IE, assuming everything else equal, is safer than Chrome. Yes.

This is because I do trust that local software I run on my PC, without 200 known or unknown "(Google) cloud integrations" will leak less information about me to third parties than a browser with all those integrations, present and enabled by default.

Did you know Chrome by default lets web-apps stay in the background even after you think you have exited your browser? Oh. You didn't? Well that's certainly not creepy, isn't it?

When that browser to top it off is created by a company whose business model is gathering information about you and using that to sell ads, there's really not much to add.

Those are facts. And from those facts, I can deduce that me and my privacy are most likely much safer using the browser not made by the advertising company. Do you honestly find that unreasonable?

I don't know how you came to this conclusion, but I don't need to trust in Google because I can check the source code myself

You are confusing Chromium for Chrome.

Chromium is definitely open-source, but that's probably used by a overwhelming 0.1% minority.

Most users are using Chrome, which is definitely 100% closed source and there is no guarantee that Google doesn't add any secret or additional proprietary bits into it outside what is found in Chromium.

Chrome is about as open as MSIE, and gets none of the open-source defence arguments which could be used to defend Chromium and Firefox.

half the time i load gdocs in firefox, gdocs tells me firefox is not a supported browser and that i should download chrome right away.

Of course i can ignore the warning, but its pretty clear and if you're a random user you'll be like "oh crap ive to upgrade or gdocs will break".

so yeah, its close enough.

Maybe that's because they only support the two latest versions of Firefox as well?

I haven't gotten any such warnings from Google Docs while using Firefox (latest version) at least.

> We support the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis

This policy seems kind of broken since browser versioning went crazy. There is no longer any particular link between a "major" version of a browser and the actual technical changes under the hood that came with it. Chrome has a new "major" version what, monthly? FireFox nearly the same? MS sat on IE6 for 5 years and then iterated nearly a major version every year since, but now seems to be correlating them to new (major or minor) versions of Windows. Tying a support policy to something that is so different between browsers, and mostly a marketing device, seems pretty weird to me.

Not really. They're just saying "we have the manpower (and patience) to test on two different versions of each of these three browsers, and one of our own" rather than "we'll support however many different browser versions these vendors care to release in the past X months" - seems kinda prudent to me.

"Minor" versions of chrome have also completely broken significant features. There seems to be a curse where becoming a powerful browser company makes you do really bad things.

- First, Google extends support for Chrome on XP for a few more years - Second, Google ends support for IE8/9.

Sweet move Google/Chrome.

Yep. Google supports modern web runtime on more of Microsoft's platforms than Microsoft themselves do. People in companies who are stuck on particular OS version, but have the freedom and motivation to adopt new productivity software can probably also download a browser.

Google is making perfect sense here, the real question is why did MS screw this up so bad and integrate OS and web runtime to such a degree they can't support more of their user base?

Yeah, Microsoft's failure to keep supporting XP users (who still make up a whopping third of the entire OS market, 12 years after that OS was released) is this decade's IE6-lock-in. Hopefully, most will move off IE8 onto Chrome, but I'm not holding my breath.

If China is any indication, XP users will end up paying not for the OS (pirate!) but for continuing support.

I would laugh if some virus writers switched sides and start offering up patches for XP. They may know the core OS better than the developers still working in Redmond by now.

I've never been able to tell how much of the 'web browser is in the OS!' system was a business move to defeat Netscape and how much was an ill-conceived technical idea. Either way, 'Active Desktop' was pretty darn lousy.

>the real question is why did MS screw this up so bad and integrate OS and web runtime to such a degree they can't support more of their user base?

They didn't see it as a screw up, they did it intentionally to push people into upgrading to new windows releases. They did not count on people having no interest in upgrading their computers any more, which is how most people got new windows versions.

For some reason this article resists drawing the obvious conclusion, which is that this is just an effort to turn Google Docs users into Chrome users.

Supporting older browsers is an enormous drain on productivity, and it also influences design decisions for the worse sometimes by driving the design towards a lowest common denominator there the denominator is broken (e.g. terrible garbage collector in IE6/7)

It's time to move the web forward. I'd say this is an effort to turn Google Docs users into IE11, Firefox, or Chrome users.

It's not so obvious when you realize how much of CSS3 is unsupported by IE9 but supported by IE10. Or the fact that Google's policy for Google apps is to support the current major version and one back for all supported browsers. They've stated this policy for over 2 years. Now that IE11 is out, IE11 (current) and IE10 (legacy) are supported while IE9 (2 back) is dropped.

See also: Hangouts, which for some reason work well only in chrome, and only in chrome have an addon that integrates with your desktop.

See also: personal blocklists for search, which STILL aren't available for Firefox.

Google's not abandoning these people. Microsoft abandoned them long ago. When I hear from QA that something isn't working on IE8, it ruins my entire day. Even IE10 is dreadful to work with. Good riddance!

I love this. Very reasonable position. The last 2 versions is very reasonable in my opinion. This is common on the mobile app side, developers only supporting the last couple of major OS versions.

And because this is Google they have the weight to make Microsoft think hard about their policies of abandoning their own customers.

It's really not reasonable at all for large non tech-driven businesses... If I were running one of those, this kind of behavior would be a strong anxiety driver for me, which would make me stick with Microsoft and their extremely lax upgrade pushes + strong backward compatibility track record. The reason is that businesses rarely have time to drop everything and upgrade something core, and it's not likely to improve their business in any meaningful way. To them, Google is just being a nuisance with this.

This is the most interesting part for me:

"Android has a much bigger fragmentation problem than Internet Explorer. Supporting only the latest 2 Android releases (4.3 and 4.4) would mean targeting less than 3% of the Android devices."

Must be accurate coming from Google.

You can easily support old Android versions with compatibility libraries, and get most of the features of the latest os.

IE6 will never support ES5 or CSS3.

A 2.1 Android device can support fragments and action bars via libraries.

Comparing the two is just dishonest. Furthermore Android doesnt run on web standards like HTML or CSS.

If you want to compare things then compare the fact that Microsoft dont allow XP users to upgrade IE to the latest version , whereas Google provides compatibility libraries for old devices to use the latest APIs.

> IE6 will never support ... CSS3.

CSS PIE 2.0 comes surprisingly close. Although you do have to add custom rules in the CSS file.

To be fair, the Nexus 5 is the only device that is currently running 4.4, and it's only been available for the last week (I'm still waiting for mine to arrive).

The code is out there, they just haven't pushed it to consumers yet.


Here is data straight from Google about android fragmentation.


So it’s actually closer to 2.3%. That’s sad.

4.4 was released last week and 4.3 last July.

Even if that weren't the case, your comparison would be dishonest.

iOS 7 was released less than 2 months a go. According to Mixpanel, 76% of iOS users have iOS 7. I’d say that’s quite a contrast to Android 4.3 adoption.


The parent didn't draw a comparison between iOS and Android, neither did I.

In fact, nobody was even talking about iOS here.

Your comparison makes about as much sense as the parents comparison between IE and Android since both are absolutely irrelevant and unrelated to the topic.

There are reasons for MS not auto updating IE and leaving update settings to system admins. SAP in my company works only for IE9. One cannot simply drop whatever it is and start working on bug fixes for IE10/11, Firefox and Chrome, irrespective of whose fault it is. Google is being Google in this matter.

God bless Google for pushing the internet forward.

I wonder if Google are shooting themselves in the foot a little bit here. The corporate world doesnt move that fast, many companies still use IE7 for instance.

If corporate users cant use gmail etc its going to force them to things like hotmail which im sure will work fine in any version of IE7+

Google is effectively utilizing the same strategy Apple used with the iPhone. Namely, ignore the corporate market and capture normal customers. Deliver a great experience and integrate your products into their lives. If you capture enough of them you'll create a backdoor into the corporate marketplace by increasing employee demands for a modern experience.

I think it's a great idea, and it's the only way I see the web moving forward at a reasonable pace.

outlook.com only supports IE8+.

IE7 is totally unsupported by anyone, including MS. There are no patch updates, no security bugfixes. There's also zero reasons to use it, as enterprises can upgrade to IE8 and configure a GPO to force IE7 compatibility mode for Intranet site or whatever broken resources they need to access through IE7.

They had a security fix for IE6, 7 and up just last month: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-0...

The patch for IE7 is called IE7-WindowsXP-KB2879017-x86-ENU.exe

>IE7 is totally unsupported by anyone, including MS. There are no patch updates, no security bugfixes.

This is a myth.

IE7 is very difficult to develop modern web apps for, when one even counters difficulties with IE9 vs modern browsers - and IE 8 was a big step up from 7. Any companies poorly administrated enough to still be using IE7 should see moves like this as a wake up call that it's time to move on from 2008.

Because HP never upgraded my graphics card drivers on my laptop, I cannot upgrade past IE9 on my Windows 7 machine. (For whatever reason IE10 takes a dependency upon some point release of DirectX that requires driver revisions).

So, umm, gee thanks Google? Ugh.

Get Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Maxthon, or any number of modern, standards compliant browsers, and use that. Windows != IE, you can use one without the other. And it's not that they are doing it just because. IE9 is missing a ton of needed HTML5 features which can make Google Docs better. Would you like IE9 support or better docs app. Because that's the choice.

That's easy to say, except the web is so fragmented, different browsers work to different levels of functionality on different sites.

Heck, Pandora.com is most functional in Opera. Go figure.

And yet IE is the browser that I would say has the least amount of functionality judging by the fact that it doesn't support a lot of modern features (<IE10 that is.) So if you're complaining about the 'web not working the way you want it to' then I would say you really shouldn't be using IE.

That is nice and all, except I just came across a website the other day (a catalog for eyeglass frames) that did not function in the latest Firefox but functioned fine in IE. The online catalog was a brand new addition to the site. Even better is when I hit some site where some features work better in IE, some work better in FF, and some work better in Webkit browsers. That is always fun.

Web developers are of varying quality. If they target their site at one given browser (which of course they shouldn't do, but bad ones very well may), that browser is going to perform better on that site.

Most well developed sites will work well in Chrome, FF, and IE10. IE8 is generally well supported for now, but it's only because developers have to bend over backwards to support it, because they think they have to. Then, there are websites that are designed to work only in IE, because they use non standards compliant functionality.

So, IE8 has a bunch of extra features it should not have, because they are not part of any standard, and is missing a bunch of features it should have to provide HTML5 support.

What I find a lot more annoying is the fact that for some unknown reason Microsoft used to designed IE in such a way that its so woven into the operating system that you have to update the entire OS just to get the latest copy of a browser. Supposably, IE11 is going to be better about this.

Simple fact is, dropping support for IE9 allows one to build better software.

As to the page you referenced, the one that does not load in FF. Can you provide a link? I would love to take a look.

It appears the site (http://www.morel-france.com/catalog/catalog.php) has since been updated to work in Firefox. That said, I browse around enough, I'll hit sites that break in either IE or FF often enough. (More often broken in the latest IE than in the latest FF)

IE10 functions even when the fallback video driver is being used, which certainly doesn't provide hardware acceleration. Are you really sure DirectX or the graphics driver is the cause of not being able to install IE10?

Also, DirectX isn't a separately updatable component, at least in recent versions of Windows. It gets updated as part of regular Windows updates and service packs. (Some software still uses the DirectX redistributable as part of its installer, but in recent versions of Windows, this only installs an optional part of the DirectX 9 interface library.)

Outdated graphics drivers can't provide features introduced with a newer DirectX version, but they shouldn't prevent you from installing IE10.

IE10 will not even install on my machine due to DirectX dependencies.

The DirectX update will not install, it complains about video driver issues. It tells me to download a specific version of my video card driver. Downloading and installing that version of the driver does no good, the DirectX installer still complains.

As for the DirectX update, I had to specifically search on error codes from the IE10 install to find the MSDN page with the DirectX update in it. (The MSDN page is actually what informed me of what video card driver I needed).

This is the problem with discreet graphics cards in laptops that user manufacturer specific drivers. Bleck. Not like the driver works, I have to change versions based upon which game I am playing, it is just like the bad old days on the desktop.

Also the GPU occasionally decides to just stay on 100%, though I think might be a Firefox bug. (IIRC WebGL content in a tab open somewhere)

The crap I go through to have a gaming laptop.

Wonder if you tried to install KB2670838 + KB2834140 manually.

There's always Firefox and Chrome. No one is forcing you to use Internet Explorer.

I think he means his work laptop has these driver limitations, so he's stuck.

Reading the chain of issues on your machine, are you sure there's nothing else wrong with your machine? I have had very good experiences with Firefox running for days without issue. I don't have hundreds of tabs like some people, so that might be the reason there.

Oh I crash FF on every machine I have it on. Hundreds of tabs, and RES is known to leak memory like a sieve. I can watch FF's memory usage grow by the minute as I browse Reddit.

Hundreds of tabs? You need to fix your garbage collector and close some.

Why not choose a different browser?

I use a variety of browsers, but some websites work best in some browsers. I've seen sites not work in FF or IE that work great in Opera, sites that fail in IE and work fine in FF, and it is not to uncommon to find sites posted here that only work in Chrome.

FF leaks memory, or at least the plugins that make FF great leak memory. (If I kill Reddit Enhancement Suite and AdBlock+ FF tends to stay alive for more than a few hours).

I'm opposed to Chrome, I prefer a browser that isn't designed to track everything I do. (Although Google already tracks everything that I do, so I'm really not winning much of that battle.)

On my Windows 7 machine, IE is my browser that has no plugins installed. It is really fast, light, and insanely stable. FF is my plugin laden browser, as such it tends to go down in flames with some frequency.

I am annoyed with the IE team for taking a dependency upon DirectX, annoyed with DirectX for taking a dependency upon video card drivers, and annoyed with HP for not updating their drivers. (To be fair, there is a very short list of Laptops that the particular DirectX update doesn't work with, mine just so happens to be on that list!)

Open FF in privacy mode without plugins enabled. Or disable Chrome's "tracking" mechanisms (there aren't many). Problem solved.

> Open FF in privacy mode without plugins enabled.

Then the internet is a much worse experience! I have those plugins installed for a reason; Flash, AdBlock+ and Reddit Enhancement Suite.

You're making your own problems, it seems... Purchasing from HP in the last six years was a good way to start off on that foot, at least!

HP was the only laptop manufacturer at the time offering a laptop with a dedicated graphics card of reasonable performance and a 1080p screen in a 14" form factor.

They were quite literally my only choice at the time.

Aside from having shipped with bad sticks of RAM, and the current stale video card issues, the machine is rock solid stable and after putting an SSD in there, lightening fast.

Lenovo ThinkPad. Nothing good ever came from buying HP.

I mean as an alternative to IE. FF with no plugins is better than IE.

I would love to know which sites work great in Opera but not at all in FF. Seriously, as a web dev, that would be very useful research material - please post some reference URLs if you can.

Pandora.com! The scroll wheel for the station selector works best in Opera. It is buggy and slow in Chrome, or at least it was a couple of months ago when I last checked across all browsers.

Even better, Pandora's station selector is 50 types of borked in IE9 and 10. I gave them a bug report complete with a video capture repro a couple of months ago, nothing has changed. In Firefox the scroll wheel just doesn't do anything at all.

It is hilarious, this has worked for literally YEARS and then they broke it a few months ago.

To continue the oddness, Pandora works with pure HTML5 (e.g. no Flash) in IE but demands Flash when using Firefox. Joy!

Use Chrome, FireFox, or blame Microsoft/HP?

So why don't you get the drivers directly from AMD, Intel or NVIDIA, as appropriate? Don't rely on computer manufacturers to supply up to date drivers.

Laptop with a dedicated GPU. AMD's unified drivers were, last time I checked, still unstable. I am stuck using HP's custom drivers, which never receive updates. This isn't too uncommon for Laptops.

Driver updates aren't always compatible. I had a Dell laptop that would blue-screen consistently with the latest NVIDIA drivers, but was fine using the version Dell provided.

As someone who has psychological scars from having to create and maintain IE6 compatible webapps I can't help but have absolutely no sympathy for the web experience of any IE user.

Google could very well go "We don't support IE. If it happens to render or work at all on your browser, count yourself lucky." and I wouldn't care a damn.

I bet there were cheers in the Office 365 team when they heard this - that is an enterprise non-starter.

That was fast... but I'm really glad as a developer, the less old versions to support the better.

Even though Chrome automatically updates on people's personal computers, bureaucracies like my university still use a version that is more than a year old (could be over 2 yrs). I hope Google finds a way to force such luddite organisations to update regularly.

This could actually lead to more Windows 8/8.1 and PC sales. Don't underestimate the stupidity of the public.

My mega-size company is still in the process of moving from XP to Windows 7. So, our 'new' browser is IE9.

Why isn't it IE10?

One of the clients I work for is still stuck on IE9 on Windows 7 as well. I really fail to understand the IT department.

Forced extinction of a horrible browser. Sounds alright to me.

Kaspersky AV flags the link as "phishing URL".

So next time Google will drop Windows or Mac OSX to introduce their brand new OS system? I hope it will not be the Chrome OS or Android.

Modern IE is still supported. This doesn't make sense.

actually while the comment author is pushing right now his scenario could very well happen in the medium/long term future..

Good news for everyone.

that stats counter graph looks pretty flawed

Why the heck doesn't MS auto-update its browsers? Chrome and FF have been doing it for years.

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