Google has revealed it will phase out support for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 web browser starting in March.

"Many other companies have already stopped supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers. We're also going to begin phasing out our support, starting with Google Docs and Google Sites," Rajen Sheth, Google Apps senior product manager, said in a blog.

The announcement comes more than two weeks after Google reported that its servers had been the target of attacks originating in China. Those attacks targeted a vulnerability in IE6, for which Microsoft has since issued a fix.

Support for IE6 in Google Docs and Google Sites will end March 1, Sheth said. At that point, IE6 users who try to access Docs or Sites may find that "key functionality" won't work properly, he said.

Sheth suggested that customers upgrade to Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox 3.0, Google Chrome 4.0 or Safari, or other more recent versions of those browsers.

According to StatCounter, IE6 has 18 percent market share among browsers.

The Department of Health is also advising its urging hospital and other staff to ditch the aging browser.

It recommends orgnisations upgrade to a newer browser as soon as possible, citing security concerns and poor performance.

"We've advised NHS trusts to upgrade to IE7 as early as possible," DoH spokesperson told the Register.

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See also: IE6 flaw puts Windows XP users at risk