UniBrows, a plugin from Browsium that enables users to use Internet Explorer 8 to view IE6-only sites, was released from beta today. The idea is to enable enterprises that require IE6 for legacy apps to be able to upgrade to newer versions of the browser. This would also provide a path to upgrade to Windows 7, which doesn't support Internet Explorer 6. UniBrows will also support IE9 in a few weeks, according to Browsium's Gary Schare.
As we've reported, Internet Explorer 6 persists in many enterprises for a variety of reasons. Many organizations run third-party or in-house applications that require IE6 but are too expensive to upgrade or replace.
UniBrows, which has been in beta for the past six months, gives administrators the ability to specify policies for specific sites that require IE6. IE8 will use UniBrows to load those sites with IE6's rendering engine and legacy ActiveX components. All other sites will use IE8's rendering engine and the current version of ActiveX.
Browsium licensed several DLL files from Microsoft to accomplish this feat. Update: Schare clarifies that Browsium does not license the DLLs. "Customers download the IE6 components from Microsoft's website using our preparation tool."
Alternative approaches include running IE6 in a virtual machine, or installing IE6 on a terminal server. The downside is that this requires licensing additional copies of Windows, or buying adequate terminal server licenses at great expense. Browsium will charge organizations with 5,000-50,000 users a $5,000 base license fee plus $5 per seat. Volume licensing agreements are available for larger organizations.
Browsium is based in Redmond, WA and was founded last year.