Seems you either hate Internet Explorer 6 or… well, I don’t know anyone who actually loves it. Say what you will, though, this version of the Microsoft browser has been no slouch when it comes to longevity… until now, that is. It seems the 10-year-old browser is finally making way toward the scrap heap in this country. According to the latest figures from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the U.S. has now fallen below 1 percent.

This version has a rep for being a relic still forced upon the masses by their company computers. Now with its impending demise, it would finally liberate web developers who have long been saddled with supporting it — perhaps affording them the ability to spend their time more wisely (say, with making the interwebs work with more of the browsers we actually prefer to use).

This has been a long time coming. HTML 5-friendly Internet Explorer (v9) has been out for a while now, so the fact that IE6 has lasted this long is unbelievable. And given how so many users have increasingly moved to lighter, faster candidates — such as Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Firefox, not to mention all the niche offerings — for their personal use, its continued existence seemed even more incredible.

Microsoft itself is thrilled that usage is ramping down, probably so that more attention can be cast upon its recent offerings. The company even created a website called IE6 Countdown last March, and more recently put up a blog post celebrating its end of days, complete with “HTML 5/Goodbye IE6” cake.

Are you sad to see it go for some reason? Or are you thrilled that this version of the browser has finally begun taking its last breaths? Leave your condolences (or celebratory messages) in the comments below.

[via Exploring IE/WindowSteamBlog]