Gartner: Virtualizing IE6 violates Microsoft’s EULA

Neil MacDonald at Gartner recently posted that Microsoft is telling customers that if they try to use application virtualization (App-V, ThinApp, etc) with IE6 that they are in violation of Microsoft’s EULA.  Here is an excerpt of a letter from Microsoft to some of their customers:

Microsoft does not support the use of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) or similar third-party application virtualization products to virtualize IE6 as an “application” enabling multiple versions of Internet Explorer on a single operating system.  These unsupported approaches may potentially stop working when customers patch or update the underlying operating system, introducing technical incompatibilities and business continuity issues. In addition, the terms under which Windows and IE6 are licensed do not permit IE6 “application” virtualization.  Microsoft supports and licenses IE6 only for use as part of the Windows operating system, not as a standalone application.

As you can imagine this is maddening for companies who are planning to roll-out Windows 7.  I know of a large Global 1000 company where major ERP/CRM/HRMS applications are still running older versions for which the only supported browser is IE6.  This customer was considering VMware’s ThinApp as an elegant way to work around this problem, but Microsoft is taking away this option, forcing less attractive options like Windows XP mode which requires the more expensive Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and more hardware resources on the desktop/laptop.

I can appreciate that Microsoft has concerns about supporting an EOL browser with security issues, but I think that Microsoft could be more flexible here as the result is that they are impairing Windows 7 migrations.  Companies do want to move away from IE6, but in some cases this requires major business application upgrades which just won’t happen overnight.  By adopting this policy, Microsoft is creating more obstacles for Windows 7 migrations.

Please share your concerns with your Microsoft representative and also comment on Neil’s post as well.  Hopefully if a critical mass of customers express their concerns to Microsoft, they will reconsider and allow application virtualization of IE6 in order to allow Windows 7 deployments to proceed.

4 Responses to Gartner: Virtualizing IE6 violates Microsoft’s EULA

  1. Matt M says:

    “I know of a large Global 1000 company where major ERP/CRM/HRMS applications are still running older versions for which the only supported browser is IE6. This customer was considering VMware’s ThinApp as an elegant way to work around this problem, but Microsoft is taking away this option, forcing less attractive options like Windows XP mode which requires the more expensive Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and more hardware resources on the desktop/laptop.”

    Windows Enterprise is a use right that accompanies SA, which is an integral part of any EA agreement, and I’ve never met a Global 1000 company that doesn’t have an EA agreement. I understand how this problem may impact smaller companies, but are you saying you know of a Global 1000 company that doesn’t already have rights to use Windows Enterprise (regardless of whether it is currently deployed or not)? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but in my experience, it would be a first.

    • Kevin says:

      Saying that SA is an integral part of EA is subjective. Not all organizations have bought into the value of Software Assurance and have paid the extra $$$ for it.

      Yes, many larger companies have purchased SA for the desktops (I tend to think that the value is there in most cases) but this one never has.

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