Now that the movement by Web architects to engineer a collective dumping of IE6 has generated its own Web site, the move is on to spur Microsoft itself to join in. After all, the success of IE8 could depend on businesses' willingness to dump IE6. But in a plea to Web architects to understand the difficulties those businesses face in dumping any old software and adopting any new ones (and avoiding Firefox in the process), Microsoft IE8 product manager Dean Hachamovitch wrote for his team's blog that Microsoft simply cannot drop support for IE6 while support for the operating system that delivered it -- Windows XP -- continues.
"The engineering point of view on IE6 starts as an operating systems supplier. Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product," Hachamovitch wrote. "We keep our commitments. Many people expect what they originally got with their operating system to keep working whatever release cadence particular subsystems have. As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Ultimately, the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC."
Hachamovitch linked to a page that showed Microsoft's typical "Mainstream" product support lifecycle extending five years beyond that product's original introduction, with "Extended" (paid) support extending an additional five years beyond that. However, last April, Microsoft specifically extended the "Extended" support program for XP until 2014, after finally terminating its Mainstream support cycle long after it had originally intended.