This is a serious question; I'd like to know why Microsoft will not (or cannot) patch IE6 and/or IE7 to make them more standards compliant browsers -- SPECIFICALLY pertaining to the CSS rendering bugs?

Seems like it would be pretty easy to just issue a patch which fixes the CSS bugs and save a lot of web devs many headaches.


because they aren't bugs, they're intended design.

Intended design that flies in the face of convention and causes developers and users alike headaches, but still intended design. Plus it would segregate the browser market even further, into people with IE6 who had updated, and those who hadn't.

Really, the best course of action is that that MS is doing anyway - trying to get people to move to IE8, though it's still far from perfect in the rendering department, it's much, much better.

  • precisely, yes. – Dan Rosenstark Oct 17 '09 at 12:06
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    Are you telling me that the box model, float clearing, and many other CSS bugs are intentional? I find that hard to believe. – Jeff Oct 17 '09 at 15:53
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    I think they are, actually. If you forget everything you know about browser standards, then it all works fine, and nothing seems particularly out of place. Of course, when you take standards into account it looks bloody stupid, but I don't think MS took standards into account :P – Phoshi Oct 17 '09 at 16:04

Because then all those sites fixing things in IE would break again. If you didn't test te version and it breaks because they fix something in the new one, that's your fault for being stupid.

If they fix an old version after you test it, and it breaks your site, MS is to blame.


For some of the same reasons that Mozilla does not release patches for Firefox 1.0. Rather than issue patches for older versions, the way to get fixes is to upgrade to the latest version.

Another reason: IT departments depend on the version-specific behavior for their in-house software. If the CRM program they depend on requires IE7-specific rendering bugs, then they make the decision not to upgrade to IE8 (it's much cheaper and easier than fixing the bug). If the changed behavior is back-ported to IE7, then they will not upgrade to the new version of IE7. Either way, the result is the same.

Similarly, home users who don't upgrade to IE8 are also unlikely to install patches to IE7. Since they aren't (and shouldn't) be marked as "critical" updates, they won't be installed automatically.

Microsoft did try to remedy this situation by including compatibility mode in IE8. At my job, our CRM program at my job depends on IE7 and breaks in IE8, but turning on compatibility mode fixes the problems. This doesn't really do anything for home users who don't upgrade, but at least companies have an upgrade path from IE7.


From a development perspective it does not make a lot of sense to return to older browsers and alter items that were "by design" at the time the software was developed and have later been determined by users to be "bugs." Microsoft is better served ... and so are IE users ... by focusing development efforts on new versions of IE.

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