back to article Microsoft: 'Using IE6 is like drinking 9-year-old milk'

Microsoft hopes the fear and shame associated with online fraud will elbow browser holdouts off Internet Explorer 6 and onto IE 8. The company's Down Under operation has equated the risk of using IE6 to drinking a carton of rancid - and probably solid - nine-year-old milk. IE6 was released in 2001. Microsoft Australia wants …


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  1. Brett Weaver

    I dont have any problems using a Microsoft Browser

    Its just that its soooo sloooowwwww compared to Chrome or Firefox.

    If Microsoft want their product used, maybe they should be trying to deliver a better product?

  2. Craig Foster

    IE8 protects against email?

    How will a browser protects you from replying to an email from the last relative of a rich dead nigerian?

    Then again, they're trying to peddle the equivalent of month-old rancid milk.. It's newer, but it'll still have you heading for a toilet...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're not great wine-drinkers at MS OZ, I take it

    but I really want to meet the guy who laid down a few pints of milk in 2001 on the off-chance that it would come in handy in a marketing stunt. A true visionary.

    1. Quxy

      Perth Pink

      "This is a browser with a message in, and the message is 'beware'. This is not a browser for drinking, this is a browser for laying down and avoiding.'"

  4. lucmars

    Push to upgrade or to use an other browser

    Can we have please more info about the bigs websites who advice the user about ie6? Do they just advice for an upgrade and/or the use of an other browser?

    If it's just about an upgrade that looks like an other anti-competitive trick, no?

  5. Marvin the Martian

    9y old milk?

    So any IE version is good for about 1 week? I do believe that is true, after 2 weeks frustration exceeds indeed.

  6. Christoph

    Pot, meet kettle

    "According to Microsoft's site here, one in eleven Australians will fall victim to online fraud this year, losing money or personal data."

    And how many will fall victim to an obvious scam by sending their friends' personal data to Microsoft?

    1. Dave Bell

      It is suspicious...

      There's one outfit I deal with that wants me to use my User-ID and password in four different places on their system, and the same at all four. One is a set of user forums, and the others are access to different parts of a system holding money.

      They recently warned everyone about a phishing scam involving the usual trick of confirming your user-ID and password via another site.

  7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Almost there...

    I like their analogy, but why don't they grow some balls and just formally dump IE6 support completely? That would force business users do do *something* to get out of their predicament.

    One, incidentally, created by MS' non-standards and the business' dumb contracts that did not dictate multiple client testing in the first place...

    Remember that w2k is past support now, XP almost end of life and in its case most sensible XP users will have upgraded to IE8 even if they use other browsers due to its deep routed security implications.

  8. Cubist Castle


    If we're talking milk, the prospect of twelve-months-old Internet Explorer 8 doesn't really appeal to me either. Even the latest preview of version 9 is over a week old. I guess it could be UHT.

  9. Graham Marsden

    Microsoft... rancid... spoiled...

    ... Fish... Barrel... BANG!

  10. yossarianuk

    I could think of a better thing to send

    Surely it would have been more appropriate to have sent a steaming pile of s*it instead, one that obviously infected with some sort of contagious disease.

  11. The BigYin


    MS would not be in this mess if they had supported and followed standards back in the day. Instead they created proprietary flags, tags and interpretations that drove developers in-freaking-sane and locked application to particular versions of their software.

    MS have, of course, not learnt their lesson and still do not support standards (e.g. the whole docx/odf hoo-hah). In a few years there will be a similar story about some other piece of proprietary MS tech and all the grief that is causing.

    If you are sending out an RFP, you are a blithering idiot if you do not demand the use of open, free-to-use and patent clear standards (e.g. mandate CMIS for ECM).

  12. Eddy Ito

    Say cheese!

    I understand that updating applications and changing browsers is a high inertia proposition for some companies and governments. I also know it will cost more than a few quid. The problem is that IE6 can't possibly live forever and I can't believe migration costs are going to go down in the future. I mean it's a web browser people, we aren't talking about a modern COBOL here... are we?

    Oh, I just gotta know, where did they find 9 year old milk and was it raw whole milk, UHT pasteurized 2%, irradiated skim, what?

  13. Anonymous Coward


    This is all well and good, but in the last month I have seen some Microsoft staff at Redmond who are still using IE6.

    If their own staff are forced to use IE6, what hope is there of other companies/governments not using it?

  14. Ejit


    Just registered Her Britannic Majesty's Government. Hope the milk doesn't spoil too much on the way over.

  15. fastoy

    ... off Internet Explorer 6 and onto IE 8.

    More likely off Internet Explorer 6 and onto Chrome!

  16. Lewis Mettler 1

    everything Microsoft is spoiled milk

    Fools as they are focused upon the Microsoft way and have been burned.

    Now even Microsoft has to blink and change their Internet Application to be compatable with everyone else.

    Sounds like the Microsoft way is spoiled milk.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Technically Advanced

    Now please: ask any customer of orange how forward their customer support and service is.

    Then stand back and watch the incoming flack fly. IE 6 is advanced for orange.

    From my experience of them they would be right at home with IE 0.2.

  18. Deadly_NZ


    Well I am a firefox user However as I am using XP sp3 I decided to upgrade IE from 6 to 8 ..

    What a cluster fuck that was


    after downloading the installer I ran it and off it went to get an update that is needed fine so far .. Next up comes the red box saying that the patch it downloaded and ran was an earlier version of one that had been installed SO IE8 Refused to install so I am stuck with IE6 (that I avoid like the plague) but as I cant upgrade I am stuck with an insecure system as IE runs with all sorts of shite on XP

  19. Daniel Evans


    Where do you find 9-year-old milk?

    Or are MS's cafeteria staff of such high quality that this is what they happen to have lying arounjd?

  20. the rat

    ie6 == government department

    From my experience as an Australian government webmaster, the only people using ie6 were other government departments.

    Lets face it, if you are using ie6, you are running a computer that is more than 5 years old, and have never updated it. That probably means no security updates and it is highly unlikely that such a computer is still alive on the web.

    The alternative is that someone has installed ie6 on a new computer. Only a very select band of idiots would continue to do such a thing.

    Of course that same select band of idiots only installs ie6 on users computers. Where I worked the IT area all had ie7 or ie8 on their own work machines.

    1. marky_boi
      Paris Hilton

      is that so....

      well maybe from yr school it might look like that if you are actually out of it, sounds like a very narrow inexperienced view..... coz I work for a major AU company and we are forced to use IE6 cos the SAP HR interface and other vital info system only work in IE6.

      i use Chrome for 80% of my job but have to still use IESHITE because our supplier and vendor management allowed this to happen..sadly we are a very microShite workshop on the desktop and i dont see that changing any tine soon

      paris coz yr clueless

  21. Bastard Sheep

    My first thought ...

    ... when I received this email was "MSIE is comparible to milk? Goess sour in a week and should be thrown out?"

    They clearly didn't think the analogy through.

  22. John Bailey


    It's a victim of it's own incompatibility. The big rush to make everything browser centric was not followed through by making an easy cheap upgrade path. Too busy putting "under new management" signs on the internet perhaps.

    It isn't stubbornness that is keeping IE6 around. It's expense. No IE6, no database, no discussion. And fixing this problem will be expensive.

    Can't wait until 2014, when Microsoft will either see a lot of rebellion, or be forced to extend support for the OS that would not die.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    IE *is* like milk

    When was IE8 released? Maybe they'll send you some one year-old milk if you're using that...

    Here's to fermentation analogies which haven't been thought through...

  24. Daniel Voyce
    Gates Horns

    IE6 Wont ever fully disappear!

    On 2 of my previous computers IE7 wouldn't install and upgrade IE6, The company I work for I have had similar problems on at least 6 or 7 computers, I'm pretty sure that this isn't an isolated case!

    Also Think of things like Citrix and other crappy thin client systems - they all run IE6 - the BBC still uses IE6 as its main internal browser (or at least for the radio side of things).

    Basically unless users choose to download a better browser such as firefox / Chrome then that % is never going to drop down enough for us Web Devs to not have to think about coding for it anymore.

    The sooner IE6 is dead and buried the better!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Let me correct that for you

      The sooner IE is dead and buried the better!

      There, that's better.

  25. Steven Knox

    Only sure result.

    "Enter your friend's details here..."

    ...and we'll make sure they're no longer your friend.

  26. david 12 Silver badge

    more loss of market share

    I moved from IE6 to FF2 because of tabbed browsing.

    I installed IE7 because I was worried about IE6, and IE7 has tabbed browsing.

    IE7 is painful to use, because stuff won't work unless it is in a trusted zone, but when I click on a URL and move between zones I get a pop-up warning.

    A POP UP WARNING! I'm supposed to be using a Browser that suppresses pop-ups, and it's inflicting pop-ups on me!

    I don't care if this stuff is more secure: if it doesn't work because of security, it's worthless. This debacle has really scared me off IE8. Even if this is just a configuration error, it's lost me.

    I don't care if your browser is standards compliant or not. I don't care if it's secure or not. The one is a problem for web sites, not for me, and the other I can work around. I don't even care if it's fast or not. All I care about is ease of use, and IE7 is spoiled milk.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Fresh Milk

    At least everyone knows IE6 is sour milk the trouble is IE8 is made from fresh unpasteurised milk thats been left in the sun for 24 hours the M$ pretend is fit to drink

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But aussies don't get the "Download another browser" choice

    Which means...

    *Shock* They downloaded *other browsers without an EU reminder page.

    Good job Australians.

    Not all Australians fell into the cult of MicroSoft.

    How about a simple question. Whichever browser you (Mr Government, Large Corp etc) go with find out how much of the Acid 3 compatibility test it can pass. That way if you don't like it you can dump it and your websites remain viewable.

    Just a thought.

  29. Christian Berger

    That's all fine and good

    But according to this table here:

    IE7 doesn't run on Windows 2000. So people would have to "upgrade" to newer versions, loosing compatibility with older software as well as features.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @That's all fine and good

      Windows 2000 is past sensible support, if you have not moved on its high time you were making plans to.

      A lot of companies have the justification that *something* will break with a new browser, and it may be true but sooner or later you have to change. I prefer LINUX, but would say to anyone with a Windows-bases system that they should migrate to 7 soon.

      Managers need to realise that software, wile it does not age in the conventional sense, has a finite useful life and you need always to be thinking 5-10 years ahead of what to do to make it work.

      That might be a VM running old OS & applications, or it might be porting to new systems, etc. But you need to know what *you* will do to keep things running smoothly. Hell, in our organisation someone still has a business-critical application that runs on OS/2!

      And what is wrong with having a 2nd browser for non-Intranet stuff? Can't your system administrators set up a software firewall to allow IE6 to access your local IP range only, and Firefox to access the test?

      Plan, budget, test. Don't get caught out!

  30. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Wasn't it rancid

    when it was first released?

    I remember teaching web design at that time, and reading up on all the vitriol spewed over the product by web designers right then (and on IE5 as I recall). Some students wanting to create really fancy designs had a seriously hard time getting it to render reasonably on a wide range of browsers.

    At least MS-Oz is being candid about the product's quality, albeit rather late.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Sadly, i have to use IE6

    As my employer (local authority) wont upgrade. However, the mix and match of hard/software here is frankly astonishing. Behind me sits a user with XP pro PRE sp1!!! Next to me sits a PC with IE7 and SP3. This is repeated throughout the organisation. Our IT dept always spouts some crud about some obscure piece of software being "incompatible". Bullshit, pure and simple. All our software is fine under IE6,7,and 8 but still they refuse to let go.

    I dont tell them I'm an ex IT engineer with 25yrs + under my belt.

    Actually, i once did tell one of the droids what my old career was and from that point on i was so locked down, i mean i cant even dbl clk the clock to get to the date. I'd plug in a hardware key logger if i could be that arsed, but i cant. In short, theres no really valid reason for using IE6 anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sounds like you need a new job...

      you: hey did you know that I have skills besides those for which you hired me?

      boss: really? *rubs chin* I think we have just the thing for you.

      *next day*

      you: why is all my shit in a box outside?

      boss: oh that? You're fired, we can't have know-it-alls in this organisation. Meet your replacement.

      replacement: sometimes when I sneeze, I fart

    2. Dave Bell

      I know the feeling.

      Computer intended for access by un-trained people, with UK keyboards, running on US keyboard drivers.

      And you were expected to type in an e-mail address, quite often.

      The last time I installed Windows, it did give an option you could change, but it defaulted to UK settings. The only plausible answer I can come up with is that the company had done a dodgy deal via a US channel.

  32. mhenriday

    Perhaps users should consider not merely changing the milk package,

    but getting a new cow ? Are there any compelling reasons for sticking with Microsoft's slow and standards--incompliant browser rather than choosing one or several of those that do a better job in both respects, like Chrome, Firefox, or Opera ? It would seem, in fact, that users are catching on - according to StatCounter, the situation for the top three browsers worldwide ( ) is as follows : IE, 52 % market share, Firefox 32 %, and Chrome 9 %, in Australia ( ) %0 %, FF 32 %, and Chrome 9 %, respectively....


  33. Anonymous Coward

    Let's see...

    IE7 was a load of junk.

    IE8 installation breaks various pre-written VB script in Office 2000 including our organisations timesheet system. So IE6 we'll stick with until Microsoft can actually learn to program its systems correctly and not write crap with causes customers such bleedin' grief.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Installing a new Web Browser breaks the Office Suite? Where's the link?

      Epic Fail!

  34. Neil Gardner

    What's wrong with Lynx?

    Having reviewed all available technologies, as head of IT at NorthWest TescoTown Council, I would highly recommend the text-focused Lynx running on CLI Slackware for internet connectivity, VI for wordprocessing and Mutt for emailing.

    These advanced application will run on all our machines dating from the mid 1990s and let our staff focus solely on text rather than faffing around with fonts and graphics. All three applications blocks flash, porn and facebook by default, while being fully compatible with our fleet of dot matrix printers. We have asked Microsoft to release a special edition of Slackware and make these applcations available from a Start Menu at the bottom left of the terminal window in compliance with our preferred supplier policy.

  35. Pete 6

    I'm pretty sure

    That I'll only see an upgrade to something newer and fancier than IE6 at work, is when MS drop all support for XP.

    It can't come soon enough IMO.

  36. Tim Cook


    Call me old fashioned, but if someone posted me some nine year old milk in the mail, I'd probably just call the police.

  37. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Oh, the irony

    It was like 9-year-old milk when it came out already.

    Now it is a poisonous compound fit for Level 4 military chemical labs. And it's offspring have grown legs and run off into the wild.

  38. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    What new culinary delight from MS Aus?

    Fettered Dingo's kidneys?

  39. Shane Kent

    And milk got fat in 9 years....

    If IE6 was 2%, then IE8 is coffee creamer. IE8 is an inconsistent, pausing, jerky piece of crap.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    If MSFT wants people using newer products...

    Then maybe they should make their new products CLEARLY BETTER than the old ones.

    Maybe IE8 is more secure etc. than IE6 but it's also way slower, uses way more memory, and the UI is completely different. (Not better, just different.)

    When IE7 came out I encouraged some relatives to upgrade but they were put off by the interface changes enough that they wanted their "old internet" back.

    Microsoft: take a page from Apple, Google, Mozilla, etc. You can release major improvements to your products without also adding major disadvantages.

  41. N2

    9 year old drinks milk?

    mmm, bittie

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    vendor lockin is a b***h

    This is the best promotion Microsoft ever gave for open source and open standards. Time for people to start thinking more strategically about their companies IT infrastructure and architecture.

    If you are a self respecting IT manager than you will choose an open standards compliant browser and server setup from now on. Preferably build with an open source development model.

    Let this IE6 vendor lockin mess be a warning for all those "sharepoint" stack buying people out there. In about 5 years you will pay very dearly for "choosing" that proprietary lockin enabling technology....

    Remember that in a couple of years you will have to rebuild/repurchase all the applications you are building on top of sharepoint today. Just as you have to do now because your CRM needs IE6 to be able to post something in it's database. Knowing that fact, do the TCO/ROI calculation again. Even with "free shop until you drop" volume license, sharepoint becomes really expensive!

    If you would choose for an open standards and open source solution, you do not have to re-invent what you already have! This only works well if you first think about and design a company wide IT architecture based on open standards and open source.

    Open source offers the possibility to easily switch components of the total solution with alternatives since they are loosely coupled by open standards. That way your IT architecture becomes flexible and robust against change, yet the total solution (consisting of all those open source pieces) is highly integrated which provides the efficient ICT your company needs.

    This is something Microsoft (+ "ecosystem") can't and never will offer you, because their business model is designed to do exactly the opposite. That is be integrated. So that you have to buy everything again when you need to only change a little piece.

    Yes it is that simple.

  43. Is it me?

    Thing is...

    If your 9 year old technology appears to do everything you need it too, and you aren't an IT professional who reads el reg in detail every waking moment of your life, why would you change.

    The average person has no concept of how the software market works, and probably doesn't want to have. One suspects that if MS just auto upgraded 6 to 8 very few consumers would complain, if they hid it behind a normal security update.

    Companies are a different matter though.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Haaaa Haaaaaaa Good One Dick Head

    Yeah - the fault isn't that MS left this crapware browser on the market for 9 years;

    It's that they even bought out something that bad in the first place.

    And like the typical stupid Microsoft "eat only what we are fed" consumers, the MS clones have put it on, switched it on and left it on....

    Because they don't know how to upgrade...... "Ohhh wasn't on the installation disk - Ohhhhh I don't know"


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