Today Google announced it would be gradually phasing out IE6 support for all of its apps: Gmail, Google Docs, etc. This is very welcome news, but I doubt it will be much of a nail in IE6′s coffin — much less the final one.
IE6 is hanging on for one reason: Corporate IT environments. IE6 is the product of a Microsoft that, in 2001, was still trying to monopolize the web — not necessarily the content of it, but the creation of it. This was also right around the time the web was embraced as a way to decentralize information, and a lot of very big companies dedicated a lot of resources to building tools that may have been “web-based” (and therefore decentralized) but used proprietary technologies and coding techniques that made them inaccessible to anyone not using a browser that didn’t support these non-standard means.
Not such a big deal in 2001, when IE had clearly won the browser wars of the 90s, but a very big deal now. Users are much more aware of their alternatives and seemingly much more comfortable making a change. (The incredibly speedy rise in the popularity of Google’s Chrome speaks loudly to this.) They may not know why we as developers prefer one browser to another, but finally the experience of using a better browser is winning users over.