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With all of the push behind killing off Internet Explorer 6, one must really understand that it is a business decision. As web designers and developers, it is our job to express the sound judgement of what the majority of our users want to see. The unfortunate thing about this movement is that there are a lot of people in business who are stuck on IE6, because their IT departments do not see the value in updating their computers. I would think for security reasons alone the browser should be updated to at least IE7 if not IE8. Each company and business must decide their own fate.
With all of that being said, the users of our web applications should not be held back by the 15% still using IE6 in my opinion. There are SO many cool things that we can do with the new technologies, and based on the sales of next generation devices like the iPhone, people clearly want the new cool things. The answer maybe as simple as letting the user know they need to update their 8 year old browser. With services like YouTube and Facebook dropping support for IE6, where a vast majority of non-tech savvy users play on the web, the social media websites will be the biggest help in pushing users of older browsers forward. Like the upgrade from HTML 3 to HTML 4, maybe the upgrade from HTML 4 to HTML 5 will be the thing that pushes developers to drop support for the older browsers, and therefore push people who are behind to the newer browsers.
We can all hope for the best, but ultimately the people who are still using the older browsers, and the IT departments which have not rolled out the latest need to decide that now is the time. The question becomes, how do we as a development community convince those who are left behind to catch up?