back to article Google 'fesses up: Yup, we're KILLING OFF IE9 support for Gmail, Apps

Google has finally revealed its plans for Gmail and Google Apps to stop working with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9. The internet ads and search giant said it has stopped all testing and engineering work to make Gmail and Apps work with IE9. Microsoft’s customers will start receiving notifications in the next few weeks that …


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  1. N2


    I wonder how much Redmond paid them to do that?

    1. BillG

      Re: So

      Meanwhile, Yahoo is compatible with IE back to IE5 and Firefox back to 3.6.28.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So

        To be fair, just because they say the don't support it, doesn't mean it's not compatible at all. I've recently used gmail on versions of Firefox as old as (some ancient unupgragable Mac at work), and it's still usable for basic tasks like you know... sending and receiving mail. (You have to use the plain HTML interface of course, but I don't consider that much of a downside.) Google "apps" are a more recent invention so naturally they don't work nearly that far back. I guess it remains to be seen how long it will be before they actually become unusable in semi-recent browsers, but I'm sure it won't be as soon as official support ends.

        1. Tadz


          The big difference, I'd guess, is that Mozilla was working on making a browser that would work with everything and in this case Google will probably deliberately take steps to make their apps non-backwards compatible--much like what MS did for decades. I think they'll ultimately find that it's a mistake.

  2. Andus McCoatover

    Holy Moley!

    Rumour has it there are some folks still using IE6...How the hell do they communicate?

    Bet they still lick stamps. (YUK!)

    Still, what's wrong with spoofing your browser ID?

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: Holy Moley!

      Talking as someone who works at a (very large) company still using IE8 on XP, I can say that we struggle.

      Hooray for local admin rights!

    2. John Lilburne

      Re: Holy Moley!

      I've never used gmail and might well start auto-bouncing any such mail.

      We all ready deny sign ups from gmail to our customer forum as its a main source of spammers.

      1. bigtimehustler

        Re: Holy Moley!

        Hahah, then your all fools, your not letting a massive chunk of possible users sign up. If presented with your site and I couldnt use my gmail account, you think im going to register with someone else? No, im just not going to register with you.

        1. Tom 13

          @ bigtimehustler

          Meh. Probably wouldn't sign up on his site with my GMail account anyway. That's for friends and reputable businesses. He'd probably wind up with my Yahoo account. That's the one I use when I'm expecting spam.

        2. John Lilburne

          Re: Holy Moley!

          What makes you think we'd want you to register. Its not as if you'll ever be a customer.

  3. That Steve Guy

    "You WILL use CHROME!!"

    This behaviour should be investigated. By doing this they are deliberately breaking as much as possible to force people into their chrome browser.

    This surely must be abuse of their monopoly?

    1. cyclical

      Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

      In all honesty anything that forces people away from non-standards-compliant, buggy browsers is a plus for those of us who develop web applications. Older versions of IE (7&8 especially, thankfully we dropped support for 6) cause a massive testing and fine-tuning overhead that we could really do without. Chrome sending all our browsing habits to Google is a small crime compared to the horrors that are the mass of workarounds, hacks, extra code and hair-tearing that is required for IE compatibility.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

        Ah yes, Robin Hood wasn't a criminal because he stole from nasty people.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Tom 13

        Re: forces people away from non-standards-compliant

        While IE9 isn't strictly standards compliant the kludge that moves it out of that realm hasn't been removed from 11 and isn't likely to be removed from any future version either. And to the extent that IE10 is standards compliant, so is IE9.

        Early in my career I worked with some very smart people who were developing a future looking appliance programming language. They foresaw the need to implement it and its related operating system in such a way that something 20 years old would still work and could still talk to something brand new. The new device would of course have to recognize the limitations of the old device, but parsing the communications was straight forward. There is no reason the same should not be true of the internet and browsers.

    2. Big_Ted

      Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

      OMG are you serious, a browser monopoly for google.......

      sorry I can't go on my flabber is too gasted.......

    3. Richard 22

      Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

      Don't be ridiculous. It doesn't force people to use Chrome. How about Firefox, Safari or Opera? Seems a sensible commercial decision to reduce their support burden and encourage people away from outdated software.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

        Don't be ridiculous. It doesn't force people to use Chrome.

        A quick search (using Google, natch) for "gmail supported browsers" gives a page listing what is required to use Gmail (Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari) along with download links. There are too many configurations to test all of them so it makes sense to only test only those most likely to be used. It also makes sense to encourage people to follow good practice in keeping their apps up-to-date.

        From the article: Google had refused say what its plans were for IE9 support, telling The Reg days before the release of IE11: “Google does not pre-announce these things, but we inform users of changes in good time”.

        They already made this statement, as quoted in the referenced earlier El Reg article:

        As we announced last year, 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. Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.

        Emphasis added - it seems pretty clear what their plans are. Here's the link for those who don't want to work at finding this stuff on a Friday.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

      Opera works fine here, no reason to use Chrome (which is a fine browser too).

    5. bigtimehustler

      Re: "You WILL use CHROME!!"

      You do realise they are even harsher on their own browser right? They only support the most current version, not the previous two versions. So in fact, they are giving other makers more rope than their own dev teams.

  4. Michael Nidd

    OS upgrade easier than browser change?

    "IE10 does not work with Widows Vista, so holdouts will need to move to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1."

    Or they could just install Firefox or Chrome.

  5. Oddlegs

    "Google is killing IE9 in line with its policy announced in June 2011 for its apps and services to only work with the current and prior major releases of browsers."

    I assume this means they'll also be killing support for Firefox 23 (now that we have 24 and 25) which is only approximately 3 months old.

    1. Soruk

      They're killing off support for the old browser. This isn't the same as deliberately making it not work. It may well still work, but if you encounter problems, they don't care.

      1. Oddlegs

        Missing the poing

        So will they then be displaying similar notifications to Firefox 23 users advising them to upgrade to a more 'modern' browser?

        The various Google apps are likely to continue working in IE9 as well for many years to come. Despite being much maligned IE has moved on considerably since IE6.

        The purpose of this policy is to scare users into changing browsers to one which is more Google friendly (Google is the default search engine in both Firefox and Chrome).

        Google can't have it both ways. Either this is an anti-Microsoft (and anti competitive) policy or they have to treat Firefox 23 the same as IE9. Obviously Google would look very foolish for suggesting a 3 month old browser is not modern enough for them to bother supporting though.

  6. David 155

    'Widows Vista'

    What an apt typo.

  7. Andrew_b65

    Google slowly killing itself?

    Maintaining ubiquity requires being everywhere all of the time. Google appears to be making itself increasingly less relevant in the desktop world. They already killed iGoogle homepage this month. They're making it easier and easier to live a Google-free life with each amputation.

    Whilst XP and IE9 may not suit some admin-orientated readers from a security point of view, plenty of average Joe consumers are still happily running much older versions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google slowly killing itself?

      I tried as a bit of a project to completely disconnect myself from the googly eyes. Drop access to things like googleapis, analytics etc. drop access to their maps and see how easy it is to find most shops who have a map on their webpage... it's not pretty.

      /anon although the googly eyes probably saw me.

  8. ProperDave

    Email is email, is email

    I don't need all this AJAX nonsense to send an email through web mail. Hotmail functioned absolutely fine back in the 90's when I started using it. And today, good old SquirrelMail acts as my personal domain webmail interface. It's simple, it works - and it works on every Web-capable device I've tried it on (Desktop ~ any browser back to IE3 on an old Win95 PC sitting the grandparents house, third gen games consoles and handhelds, Any html capable smartphone I've tried, starting with my old Nokia E65).

    Granted this is more about the range of different web apps Google offer, but what is this obsession with companies and making flashy email clients? The latest Yahoo Mail and Hotmail email interfaces are horrific.

    I'm all for innovation. But seriously, am I being insane here? Am I alone in wanting to just be able to send email without all the flashy nonsense sitting on top? Does it really matter?

    I don't want to be locked to a browser, or a specific device with a certain spec to use the web.

    1. streaky

      Re: Email is email, is email

      "Hotmail functioned absolutely fine back in the 90's when I started using it"

      And was probably using Ajax before it was called Ajax and standardised (XMLHttpRequest) given that Microsoft created it exactly for Outlook Web/Hotmail.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Email is email, is email

        HoTMaiL was not created by Microsoft, you know.

  9. Jay 2


    Just this very afternoon my old XP box at work was replaced by something slightly newer and more powerful running 7, with IE9.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Microsoft: Just so you know, we'll be ceasing support for this OS in 7 years.

    Google: Oh didn't you notice? We stopped supporting your OS last week.

    1. M Gale

      Now I know that Google want to turn a browser into an OS for some fucked up cloudy reason, but that's no reason to confuse the two.

      ...Yeah okay, I'll be going now.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Google want to turn a browser into an OS for some

        Same reason Netscape wanted to do it 20 years ago:

        If you can kill the dependency on the OS and move it to a dependency on the Browser, the OS becomes the commodity and the browser becomes the monopoly.

        Netscape's mistake was they didn't have a revenue stream to match MS's OS stream. Google does and then some.

        I've never been sure about the saying that power corrupts. I think it may be sufficient that power attracts the corrupt. But the way Google is going I may yet be convinced power does in fact corrupt.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    FTFY: "IE10 does not work with Widows Vista, so holdouts will need to move to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1."

    Maybe that should read 'IE10 does not work with Widows Vista, so holdouts should continue to avoid dropping all their personal and business information in Google's lap'.

    Just a thought.

  12. sabroni Silver badge

    So when they say dropping support.. they mean "it'll render, if it fucks up it's your problem", "we're sniffing the user agent and directing you to the old 'static' html site, or "we're sniffing the user agent and just won't render"? Dropping support could mean any of these. For gmail, if it just directs you to the old html site what's the problem? It's perfectly functional.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: So when they say dropping support..

      To be honest it really pisses me off when they go and change a perfectly good, working site. If using IE9 forced you to a static version of the page, at least you always know where you are, and you know it will alwasy work the way you want it to (Bloody hell, where is the button to launch the calendar today?)

      The problem is; they will just say FK you and either serve you up a dog's dinner, rendered badly, or refuse to work.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: So when they say dropping support..

      Presumably it just means they cease any formal testing on IE9. It might work on IE9 - it probably will - but they don't care if it doesn't.

      I mean, gmail works on the experimental browser in my Kindle e-reader and they sure as heck don't test it on that browser!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a contractor and have worked at a number of FTSE100-type companies over the last few years and have yet to find any that do not still run XP with the vast majority still running IE7.

    Of course, they almost invariably block access to email sites, so what the hey ..

  14. oldtaku Silver badge

    I don't blame 'em

    With IE9's CSS weirdnesses it's still a pain in the ass to support (though nowhere near as bad as IE5/6). IE11 is much cleaner, so they should be able to scrap a crudload of IE9 specific hacks and clean up the creaking code.

    You should still be able to use the pure HTML version on IE9 if you're desperate and can't upgrade to another browser because the IT guys are holding your puppy hostage.

  15. Mikel

    Here is a nickel

    Buy yourself a better browser.

  16. JohnL4

    Really? No choice but more MS products?

    Really, Reg? IE 9 users have no choice but to upgrade to IE 10 or 11? I thought you were the rag of the open-source crew.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Really? No choice but more MS products?

      "IE 9 users have no choice but to upgrade to IE 10 or 11?"

      Stop and think for a second. If you're using IE9, one presumes there's something beyond your control stopping you from using non-MS browsers.


      1. bigtimehustler

        Re: Really? No choice but more MS products?

        What exactly? you can still get a version of FF that will run without installing, so you can just put it somewhere you do have write access to and run it from there.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Really? No choice but more MS products?

          Fortuntately, thanks to the latest malware, a GPO has been produced that prevents junk that you install in these places from running. Yes, I'm including Chrome-for-Idiots as junk, too.

        2. ProperDave
          Big Brother

          Re: Really? No choice but more MS products?

          I have a couple of friends who work in call centres and as front line tech support for a news agency - they can't even use the usb ports because of heavily restrictive internet-café style lock downs on the system, so portable Firefox/Chrome et al isn't possible.

          ... but then again, they can't personally browse the Internet on their heavily monitored, XP desktops, so they wouldn't even try to deviate from their IE7 installs... :o

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't sound too bad

    If I'm understanding them, it's not like they're going to go out of their way to stop these apps working with IE9; instead Google will simply no longer test with the browser. I can see it being a problem for those working with control freak IT departments, but anyone working in the tech business should simply have access to multiple browsers as part of the job. Unlike Google, the engineers I work with seem to have adopted a policy of ambiguity as to which browsers they support (in other words, they don't know and can't be arsed finding out).

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't sound too bad

      >it's not like they're going to go out of their way to stop these app

      What it means is that they are inflicting God-awful "Unsupported" messages and "click to proceed messages" and even cannot proceed pages on anone using these unsupported browsers.

      Not only that, the apps are so heavy and bloated that you can see them come up correctly in your browser before blanking out and going to the "unsupported" page that locks you out.

      So yes, it appears that in some places they are going out of their way to stop some apps working with these browsers.

  18. Test Man

    Pfffff... not bothered. Work PC had IE11 installed today. Home netbook has IE10.

  19. The Vociferous Time Waster

    The big surprise here...

    The big surprise for me is that there is an IE 10 and 11. Not used a computer with it installed since IE 9 was "the next big thing".

  20. John Savard


    Unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise, all web sites should be designed to work perfectly with Viola and Mosaic, as well as Netscape Navigator 3.0 and earlier versions. Then they'll also work with all other browsers, of course with Java and JavaScript turned off.

    Meanwhile, the government should be paying Microsoft to continue providing security updates for Windows XP and previous versions back to Windows 3.1. The money to do this should be extracted from convicted virus writers and other computer criminals, not taxpayers.

    When you buy a computer, it should stay useful until the silicon wears out.

  21. Nigel Brown


    That we should be so lucky, we're still stuck with IE8.

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