In the long run, Microsoft didn't do itself any favors by releasing Internet Explorer 6 as a non-standard browser. Now all those companies who were forced to develop apps specific to the nine-year-old browser are struggling to migrate to Windows 7, according to market research firm Gartner.
Even worse for these companies is that Microsoft doesn't seem all that interested in fixing a problem it created, instead hoping to sweep IE6 under the rug.
"Microsoft would rather put the non-standard browser technology behind it," said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner. "Microsoft needs to explore all avenues that could ease the transitions away from IE6."
Here's the problem. Businesses still clinging to IE6 told Gartner that 40 percent of their browser-depending apps don't work with IE8, which comes baked into Windows 7. Fixing these apps to run in IE8 takes a sizable investment, both in time and money, and temporary workarounds all carry downsides. Probably the most promising is to use application virtualization tools, but as far as Microsoft is concerned, that's a violation of licensing agreements.
"It's ironic that Microsoft would oppose methods that would help organizations accelerate the move to Windows 7," Silver said. "Microsoft must do more to help organizations with their IE6 problems that Microsoft helped create."