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The IE Tax.
June 14, 2012 12:23 PM   Subscribe


 
Awesome. Maybe my parents will finally upgrade if this sort of thing catches on.
posted by Renoroc at 12:24 PM on June 14, 2012


how about a tax for bizarrely misused commas?
posted by b1tr0t at 12:26 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I completely misread that as "Komen" (being an American and all) and found it completely hilarious.
posted by atbash at 12:26 PM on June 14, 2012


This actually kinda makes sense. Supporting obsolete browsers costs real money.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:27 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


What's Kogan?
posted by benito.strauss at 12:28 PM on June 14, 2012 [24 favorites]


There's really no excuse to be using IE7. But this is nothing more than cheap grab for publicity which, disappointingly, seems to have succeeded.
posted by Slothrup at 12:28 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
posted by gubo at 12:29 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Linkbait. Nothing but. Whatever business they lose with this will more than be made up for it with this having been linked all over the internet.
posted by koeselitz at 12:30 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read that as "Korea will be imposing a tax on IE 7".
posted by gyc at 12:31 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My office is still on IE7. Our IT department has all computers on full lock down that does not allow for the installation of any software, or even the saving of a file from one day to the next. When I first got here I put a whole ton of work in putting manuals on Google Docs so everyone could use them at once instead of relying on the paper copies that float from desk to desk.

Google Docs no longer works with IE7. We are back to relying on paper printouts in three ring binders.

I hope more and more companies just stop supporting this outdated crap in the hopes that one day our IT department will wake up and join this decade.
posted by teleri025 at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


What's Kogan?

$20AU SAIT (unless you're using IE7, in which case it's $21.36AU)
posted by burnmp3s at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


I hope this becomes a common thing. Every time you make a purchase on a website, you're already paying the IE7 tax, because the costs are higher due to support for IE7 or other old versions of browsers.

It makes sense to isolate the bad users and give them all the cost. Web developers have started charging extra to their clients to support browsers like IE7, it's just the next logical step to pass that extra cost on to users who refuse to upgrade.
posted by brenton at 12:33 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


teleri025: "My office is still on IE7. Our IT department has all computers on full lock down that does not allow for the installation of any software, or even the saving of a file from one day to the next. "

Holy shit. That's ridiculous. How common is this sort of thing?
posted by brundlefly at 12:34 PM on June 14, 2012


Whatever business they lose with this will more than be made up for it with this having been linked all over the internet.

Dude certainly knows how to make buzz about himself.
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you use Lynx you get a discount for style
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


They could just say "Cannot process order, please upgrade your browser" and provide a link to download IE 8 or whatever. I don't think a user who hasn't upgraded from IE 7 is savvy enough to know why there's an extra charge tacked onto their bill, even though it's explicitly spelled out.

There's really no excuse to be using IE7.

Last place I worked was a hospital, and a lot of computers would still run XP. Not only that, there was medical record software for our million-dollar X-ray machine that could *only* run in IE 7 or 6. (The licence for it was in the thousand-dollare range). Blah.

I hope more and more companies just stop supporting this outdated crap in the hopes that one day our IT department will wake up and join this decade.

We want it as much as you do. Problem is that if you're upgrading to Win7 from XP (vista being skipped, natch) you'll need new boxes, which...is never in the budget.
posted by hellojed at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why stop at IE7, vs. IEx?
posted by stevis23 at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2012


Seems like as good a way to lose customers as any.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My (very large) workplace is still on IE6. I just popped over to Kogan, and the button to purchase items doesn't appear. I'm not sure if that's a deliberate behaviour or just a consequence of the page being badly mangled by the browser.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 12:37 PM on June 14, 2012


Holy shit. That's ridiculous. How common is this sort of thing?

More than you'd think. A lot of companies have developed custom Intranets/Web apps that only work in IE6 or 7, and rather than pay the money to upgrade the app, they force their users onto outdated browsers.
posted by brand-gnu at 12:37 PM on June 14, 2012


According to this, there are STILL more people using IE6 than 7. What the crap?
posted by Gator at 12:37 PM on June 14, 2012


Dear Kogan: As a web developer, I thank you. You take US dollars, yeah? Here come a few. It's the least I can do. <3 Phoebus
posted by phoebus at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't you wish you could post the jpeg of ROFL?
posted by Cranberry at 12:41 PM on June 14, 2012


brand-gnu: "More than you'd think. A lot of companies have developed custom Intranets/Web apps that only work in IE6 or 7, and rather than pay the money to upgrade the app, they force their users onto outdated browsers."

I'm definitely aware of that, based on several of my company's clients. One of them demands IE6 support for all of their public web sites, despite that browser barely making a dent in their stats.

I was reacting more to the disallowing of "the saving of a file from one day to the next."
posted by brundlefly at 12:42 PM on June 14, 2012


God, I wish we could do that. It would be heavenly. Though, even better would be just dropping support for it altogether. *sigh*

(I thought it said Krogan. Which, I didn't really think Grunt and Wrex were big on web standards.)

(Also reminds me of when I used to work for a telecom middleman. Some customer telecoms would send us tons, and I mean tons, of crap numbers. I wish we could have charged them by the attempt instead of for completed calls.)

Dude certainly knows how to make buzz about himself.

Can't comment on the Australia specific issues, but pro cheap HDMI cables and honoring a sales glitch seems alright to me.
posted by kmz at 12:43 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy shit. That's ridiculous. How common is this sort of thing?
I'd never run into it before I worked here. The idea is that we only need two or three bits of software to do our jobs and a web browser is one. Therefore if they give us the most basic version it will limit any non-work related goofing off. The administrator settings that keep us from downloading or saving anything are also there to prevent any security breaches or non-work related use of the computers.

Of course, what it does is prevent us from doing anything extra like the online manuals or using tools that could feasibly make our workflow smoother.

It's the polar opposite from the last place I worked and it throws me for a loop every single time I go to open a word doc or try to download a pdf.

I wish the two websites that we have to use for daily work would go this path, or at least just stop supporting it completely.
posted by teleri025 at 12:43 PM on June 14, 2012


I notice they link to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera in the popup, but not the download page for a more recent IE. Some people actually prefer IE, and telling them to switch instead of just upgrade is only gonna drive them off.

Of course, they also link to the page to download Safari, which as far as I'm concerned is criminal negligence.
posted by kafziel at 12:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I misread that as "Krogan will impose a tax on IE7." And I thought, "Wow, the krogan sure are coming up in the world since they dealt with that messy genophage business."
posted by brina at 12:49 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


On the one hand, I know our Engineering staff is thrilled by anything that gets people off outdated versions of IE. On the other hand, I'm reluctant to cheer for anything that pushes marginalized populations who are running old hardware off the internet.

It seems that IE8 doesn't have significantly higher system requirements than IE7, so perhaps that's not the case here, but it is something to keep in mind when wishing death on old OSes and browsers -- not everyone can afford to buy new hardware every few years.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:50 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha that's so sick. :) More websites should do something like this. But I'm surprised That one of the browsers they suggest isn't Internet explorer 9. I don't use it, but it is at least updated. :)
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 12:50 PM on June 14, 2012


Supporting obsolete browsers costs real money.

Just to play devil's advocate here, how is online shopping any better using a modern browser instead of IE 7 (which, BTW, I don't use). From my perspective, I just want to do a site search, browse through relevant choices, pick a product and buy it. That's something I did in 1995. What are the "must-have" features of a modern e-store that demand a "modern" browser? Or is it just that web designers always have to be more whiz-bang-y clever than us civilians?

Just curious ... really.

(Chrome, Opera, Safari and Firefox all up-to-date on my box.)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:51 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I notice they link to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera in the popup, but not the download page for a more recent IE. Some people actually prefer IE, and telling them to switch instead of just upgrade is only gonna drive them off.

Those same people may have been driven to upgrade to IE7 5 years ago. Microsoft's development cycle is far too slow to be worth upgrading to--it means less pain for web developers, and a better internet for everybody, if people stopped using Microsoft alltogether, even the up and coming IE10--who is to say that in 20 years we won't have people clinging to it? Far better for everyone if they just install Chrome or Firefox and keep up to date.
posted by brenton at 12:51 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some people actually prefer IE, and telling them to switch instead of just upgrade is only gonna drive them off.

I'm guessing there's about four of those people. And losing their business is almost certainly going to cost the company less than making its page support IE7.
posted by valkyryn at 12:53 PM on June 14, 2012


What are the "must-have" features of a modern e-store that demand a "modern" browser? Or is it just that web designers always have to be more whiz-bang-y clever than us civilians?

Web standards change and, more importantly, improve over time. Older browsers adhere to different and outdated standards for displaying elements of web pages. Requiring designers to keep creating separate stylesheets, for example, to make sure people with outdated browsers can still search, browse, and shop like they did in 1995 costs time and therefore money.
posted by Gator at 12:54 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


kafziel: I'd argue that linking just to the IE download page would be a bad idea. If someone is running an archaic version of IE they likely also have been laggard in keeping the rest of their Windows up to date. A link would have been nice, but it should have gone to update.microsoft.com not to microsoft.com/ie
posted by sotonohito at 12:54 PM on June 14, 2012


> how is online shopping any better using a modern browser instead of IE 7? From my perspective, I just want to do a site search, browse through relevant choices, pick a product and buy it. That's something I did in 1995. What are the "must-have" features of a modern e-store that demand a "modern" browser? Or is it just that web designers always have to be more whiz-bang-y clever than us civilians?

All of that happens faster now than it did in 1995, thanks to an incredible range of improvements in javascript processing, http request handling, prefetching, ajax requests, page rendering, etc. I challenge you to install a browser released in 1995 on your current hardware and use the internet for a week. My guess is you wouldn't last through the first 4 things that you're trying to get accomplished.

Of course there are hidden benefits to the end user--things like the increase ease of development which translates into better websites, more variety of websites, and lower cost for consumers. You can get much more, much more easily, for much less, on the internet today than you could in 1995. Part of the reason for that is better browsers.
posted by brenton at 12:58 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing there's about four of those people. And losing their business is almost certainly going to cost the company less than making its page support IE7.

Again, I'm saying that the list of "Go to Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari" should include "Or IE9".
posted by kafziel at 12:59 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will they be using the money to help fund a cure for the genophage?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:59 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


GARAGAG preview to see if witty comment has already been made, then post. Sorry brain am dumb today.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:01 PM on June 14, 2012


I don't know what Kogan is, but they seem to be a web retailer. Web retailers can't actually impose taxes, all they can do is issue fees or raise prices.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I notice they link to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera in the popup, but not the download page for a more recent IE. Some people actually prefer IE, and telling them to switch instead of just upgrade is only gonna drive them off.

Other than Microsoft, it's hard to think of any other company which has been given so much opportunity to make great technology and squandered it. How many chances have they had to get IE right?

Of course, they also link to the page to download Safari, which as far as I'm concerned is criminal negligence.

Use whatever you want, but it's fair to say that without Safari/WebKit, there would be no Chrome, no Android browser, no Maxthon, no Blackberry browser, no OmniWeb (which brought a number of enhancements that ended up in major browsers), etc.

Or those browsers would have taken a lot longer to show up and wouldn't work at web standards as well as WebKit. If it wasn't for WebKit, we'd have lots of little IEs running around.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


What the hell, I guess when you are the preeminent soviet violinist you are allowed to be picky on web browsers.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:06 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


brundlefly: "Holy shit. That's ridiculous. How common is this sort of thing?"

Usually, this means there is no [meaningful] IT department, as management locked everything down, fired the staff, and put things on autopilot.

Nobody seems to understand that IT needs to be a continuous investment. I was asked to spec a web server last year that would survive for 20+ years with little-to-no maintenance, and to procure enough spare parts to keep the rest of our servers running until 2020. This wasn't because the server was going to be in a remote or harsh environment -- they just didn't want to have to maintain the thing after my contract expired.

Sigh.
posted by schmod at 1:07 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now if only we could impose a customer discount on sites that force us to use IE.

I tried to convert to QuickBooks Online the other day. To import my current desktop QuickBooks file, I had to use IE and install an ActiveX control. Weird, but... ok. Maybe they're doing something stupid-proof like automatically finding your QuickBooks file on your disk? But no, it appears to just upload the file once you select it. Because that functionality hasn't been around for 10 years or anything. After which it tells you it will be "processed within the next 24 hours".

Intuit is like an anal-retentive corporate IT department that accidentally opened a retail store.
posted by chundo at 1:09 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


benito.strauss: What's Kogan?

Not much, what's kogan' with you?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:11 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


I completely misread that as "Komen" (being an American and all) and found it completely hilarious.

I read that as "Korea will be imposing a tax on IE 7".

I misread that as "Krogan will impose a tax on IE7."


I misread it as "Kagan" and thought that I had learned something new about powers of American judiciary.
posted by vidur at 1:21 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


IE7? Hahaha. We're still on XP/IE6! Granted, the rolling replacement of new computers finally means W7/IE8.. but even that's kinda hilarious.
posted by linux at 1:24 PM on June 14, 2012


I completely misread that as "Komen" (being an American and all) and found it completely hilarious.

I read that as "Korea will be imposing a tax on IE 7".

I misread that as "Krogan will impose a tax on IE7."

I misread it as "Kagan" and thought that I had learned something new about powers of American judiciary.


I thought maybe Kogan was an obscure eastern european or african country.
posted by kafziel at 1:27 PM on June 14, 2012


I completely misread that as "Komen" (being an American and all) and found it completely hilarious.

I read that as "Korea will be imposing a tax on IE 7".

I misread that as "Krogan will impose a tax on IE7."

I misread it as "Kagan"


Kroger's is the worst grocery store, anyway. Who shops there any more?
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:29 PM on June 14, 2012


Oh my god this is brilliant.
posted by odinsdream at 1:29 PM on June 14, 2012


Seriously though, is not the govenment going to wonder about their use of the word "tax," or at least expect it rendered unto them? You could obfuscate with jargon & call it a "Legacy User Accessibility Surcharge."
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:30 PM on June 14, 2012


Not quite IE7, but this is kind of brilliant too.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:32 PM on June 14, 2012


Gator: According to this, there are STILL more people using IE6 than 7. What the crap?

Some browsers, like Opera, have/had the option to report as IE x, because some websites would get confused with "non-standard" browsers and assume they were out-of-date or non-compliant, and prompt the user to upgrade to a different browser.

And then there are a LOT of old computers or systems where certain browser versions are locked in place by IT for some reason.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:34 PM on June 14, 2012


Those saying they are stuck on ie6/7 at work - you know you can use portable versions of proper browsers, right? You can even run them off a USB stick, no admin privileges needed. You might have to copy in the address of the web proxy your workplace uses, then you're good to go.
posted by iotic at 1:38 PM on June 14, 2012


Those saying they are stuck on ie6/7 at work - you know you can use portable versions of proper browsers, right? You can even run them off a USB stick, no admin privileges needed. You might have to copy in the address of the web proxy your workplace uses, then you're good to go.

It's a useful suggestion, but many large firms have their USB drives (or access to any sort of portable media) locked down.
posted by emergent at 1:54 PM on June 14, 2012


This is asinine. The vast majority of people could give a shit what browser they use; if it works fine for them, why the hell should they upgrade? "Web designers" have had a hugely self-inflated sense of importance for a long, long time. You may care a lot about nitpicky CSS standards and bleeding-edge HTML features but the customers viewing your web site probably don't. If I ever saw a message like that, I would be sure to click away instanteously and file a little mental note never to go back to that site. I don't know what this company sells but I bet there's nothing that can't be found somewhere else. What a vile, hostile thing to do to your customers. Here is a ladder, Kogan web developers, please do get over yourselves.
posted by kjh at 1:57 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is a cute publicity stunt, but with boilerplate polyfills IE7 doesn't actually require extra effort to support. IE6 was all kinds of crazy, sure, but IE7 behaves pretty reasonably.
posted by ook at 1:57 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Far better for everyone if they just install Chrome or Firefox and keep up to date

Some of us are deeply ambivalent about software which continually replaces itself with new versions downloaded over the internet without our involvement.

Also, get off my lawn!
posted by Slothrup at 2:00 PM on June 14, 2012


This is asinine. The vast majority of people could give a shit what browser they use; if it works fine for them, why the hell should they upgrade? "Web designers" have had a hugely self-inflated sense of importance for a long, long time. You may care a lot about nitpicky CSS standards and bleeding-edge HTML features but the customers viewing your web site probably don't.

We care about building the best experience for the large majority of people given the budget we are allowed. That means we often have to jettison the 7% of IE6 & 7 users to serve the other 93%.
posted by Mick at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many chances have they had to get IE right?

They have gotten it mostly right. IE9/10 is second only to Chrome on Windows, IMO. Firefox has become terrible (so many bugs/issues), and the others are distant also-rans which are going to have their own issues. Safari may be good on MacOS, I don't know, but it's terrible on Windows (which makes sense, and if IE is an option for you you're on Windows).

Performance in IE9/10 is quite good, they have (finally!) good development support, etc. And if you are using a site that is Flash based you won't find a better browser, which is the main reason I occasionally use IE outside of work.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:07 PM on June 14, 2012


Those saying they are stuck on ie6/7 at work - you know you can use portable versions of proper browsers, right?

Browser makers would do the world a great service to make self-contained portable downloads of their browsers that a) didn't need an installer of any kind, b) admin privileges, c) anything more than unzipping a file, basically. And providing those .zip in files named .txt as well.

Even just hosting the portable versions on their own sites would help a lot -- when you're already breaking IT policies to "install" unauthorised software you feel a lot happier about it knowing it's coming from a reputable source and not some skeevy "download this portable app and run this .exe" site you don't know from Adam.
posted by fightorflight at 2:07 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


They have gotten it mostly right. IE9/10 is second only to Chrome on Windows

On my work PC (which is a performance monster) IE9 consistently comes in fastest on all the speed tests I throw at it, including SunSpider. Chrome's a close second on many, on others it's even further behind.

I'm amazed to be saying this given all the years I had to wrestle with IE6, but it's now my default browser. I genuinely think it's great. I wish I had it on my Mac.
posted by fightorflight at 2:09 PM on June 14, 2012


I applaud this (as a web dev) but am pulling my hair out with the folks here saying their IT people are going to give them machines running Win7 and IE 8. If you can run 8 you can run 9, and it's a way, way better browser.
posted by maxwelton at 2:18 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


> We care about building the best experience for the large majority of people

"Experience" translates as serving out a tidal wave of all-singing, all-dancing ads, and tracking those suckers to hell 'n' gone.

At home I'm actually using FF12 but my user agent string says "Mozilla/2.0 (Compatible; Spectrum 2.5.2; Apple IIgs)" Deal with it, websites.
posted by jfuller at 2:38 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my experience most of the time spent on supporting older browsers is spent on maintaining absolute visual and feature parity - letting go of those is a much better step than some hateful anti-user tax.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is asinine. The vast majority of people could give a shit what browser they use; if it works fine for them, why the hell should they upgrade? "Web designers" have had a hugely self-inflated sense of importance for a long, long time. You may care a lot about nitpicky CSS standards and bleeding-edge HTML features but the customers viewing your web site probably don't.

No, but the customers viewing my web site care about whether things look and act properly. Whether or not things position correctly on their screen. Whether or not they're seeing the web site that I designed, versus the web site with glitches and freezes and pure function-lack.

The web is one of the most appealing places for somebody passionate about interactive design to be. Part of that's its universality, and the fact that you can access it from any sort of computer or device. Part of that's how good it is at letting you devise ways to connect people. None of that's how fun it is to rewrite a bunch of elements for every different browser because all of them have different ways of doing things. The differences between various instances of Webkit are bad enough – when you throw in the renderers for Firefox and Opera and IE you've got a hundred different little ways for something to fuck up and go wrong.

Now, it's great that there're different rendering options available. Part of the reason it's great is because the last time there weren't we got IE 6. But the time I spend making my sites backwards-compatible for all the variations of IE is time I'm not spending coding new functionality, figuring out ways to improve what I've already got, or generally doing anything which isn't the tedious drudgework of patching holes.

The patching's part of the job. Great. I accept that. But one browser adds a significant obstacle for developers, and part of the reason it poses that obstacle is that the company which made it intended to use it to enforce its own proprietary standards, and used its monopoly hold to force it on users which, you're right, don't actually care about web browsers that much.

Most of the time this background doesn't matter, because most of the web isn't actively selling something. But I think it's entirely fair, and more than a little satisfying, to see a store say, "Look, you're unintentionally backing a browser that adds significant overtime and lots of disgruntlement to our development process, and we're going to make you pay for that." They're not tacking on the tax without warning. They're explaining clearly what they're doing and why they're doing it. Then they're charging people who use a browser which prolongs development time and costs money.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


I want a tax on drivers in front of me who drive slower than I do.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2012


You may care a lot about nitpicky CSS standards and bleeding-edge HTML features... and pinnickety security concerns, not to mention having to employ more people to test and maintain backwards... oh for gods sake. What an asinine argument.

Browsers like IE7 hold us back. We have vendor software at work that runs appallingly under IE7 - it makes people's (at my work at least) days more painful than than needs be. Lists render incredibly slow in IE7 - and it's not like we can tell IBM to fix it - they support IE8 and up.

Browsers are a fucking tool - well for me they are at leas- not some luxury item that just lets me flick through tweets.
posted by the noob at 2:46 PM on June 14, 2012


In my experience most of the time spent on supporting older browsers is spent on maintaining absolute visual and feature parity - letting go of those is a much better step than some hateful anti-user tax.

Yeah, I would think that it wouldn't be all that hard to just feed a different template.

I prefer the "our website won't work on your browser" response, rather than surcharges. What's next, +15% if I use their mobile site?

"We just want to give our customers the best experience" is just code for "we like playing with design more than we like serving our customers".
posted by gjc at 2:46 PM on June 14, 2012


IE7 has pretty negligable numbers. IE8, the last browser to work on XP, is going to be the bigger longer term problem.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Experience" translates as serving out a tidal wave of all-singing, all-dancing ads, and tracking those suckers to hell 'n' gone.

In 15 years as an independent developer I have never worked on a site that served ads. So when I say that it means that the site downloads fast and adjusts to the device you are using, all from one codebase so that updates don't cost a fortune.
posted by Mick at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2012


And I thought the Lottery was the idiot tax.
posted by chavenet at 3:02 PM on June 14, 2012


I completely misread that as "Komen" (being an American and all) and found it completely hilarious.

I read that as "Korea will be imposing a tax on IE 7".

I misread that as "Krogan will impose a tax on IE7."

I misread it as "Kagan" and thought that I had learned something new about powers of American judiciary.


Kurgan -there can be only one!
posted by ob at 3:26 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this idea is fantastic.

I work for a large retail company an all our 4000+ terminals run IE6(!) and Windows XP. We also run our Inventory program through IE. We recently tried to update our browser for our stores and it ended catastrophically. However, I think something like this could help migrate some clingers over to the modern versions (even if I hate IE in general, it is a necessary evil).

The biggest issue is, as has been noted above, A LOT of companies built their systems around a certain version of IE and upgrading that for enterprise is not as easy as it is on a home computer. The main reason we haven't done so? We can squeeze by, patch what we need, and deal with what we don't.
posted by Twain Device at 3:29 PM on June 14, 2012


This is asinine. The vast majority of people could give a shit what browser they use; if it works fine for them, why the hell should they upgrade?

At some point, every browser stops getting security updates. Which means that using it poses a huge security risk. And that's even ignoring the fact that sometimes the entire browser version needs to be discarded because it has basic underlying security vulnerabilities.

That's why.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2012


I work for a large retail company an all our 4000+ terminals run IE6(!) and Windows XP.

Oh god. Retail terminals. That's it's own special hell.
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on June 14, 2012


> The biggest issue is, as has been noted above, A LOT of companies built their systems around a certain version of IE

"Thin client," the salesmen called it. What they didn't say is "It's an IE plugin. It's actually a normal thick client, we just piggyback on IE to provide all the functions we didn't write. Also, we plan on not having to share IE with any other "thin client" IE plugins that might conflict with ours." Then the customer, who wasn't told any of this, happily loads fifteen "thin client" IE-plugin applications on every employee's PC and wonders why IE hangs so much.

Another thing the salesmen didn't say: "If your enterprise really does become dependent on our plug-in app, you're also dependent on us to release new versions of the plugin as fast as MS releases new versions of IE." That didn't matter too much during the century (more or less) when it was just XP/Server 2K3/IE6. But though MS will probably never be fast and agile again it's moving a bit faster now (Vista/win7/win8, IE7, 8, 9, 10, 11) than it was in the XP-and-friends era. So you'll go "Hey vendor, we need a new version!. Vendor? Vendor?" and at last figure out that they were acquired in 2007 and the successor company is based in Mongolia.
posted by jfuller at 4:02 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


An awful, awful lot of intranet work seems to have gotten done in 1999 and never changed ever, with exactly the block in described above.

The reason for the IE exclusivity can be some bullshit like document.all getting used and so all the javaScript fails, or it could be something intractable like using an activeX control for UI.

Mostly it doesnt matter as nobody wants to risk touching them.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on June 14, 2012


I used to have an IE only time sheet site I had to visit that required a specific version of Java. God that thing was a horror.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on June 14, 2012


Really if companies _have_ to have such apps (at least while transitioning) they should have VMs on the desktop that open into XP w/IE6 or whatever directly into the app. It would look more or less like a standalone app to the user, but mean they only had to use that machine for that one task, and could use a modern OS/browser for everything else.

(This is, of course, more or less how most "good" companies do testing/development for such browsers -- when I need to test IE6/7 I log into a VM, I don't have them on my actual Windows machine)
posted by wildcrdj at 4:36 PM on June 14, 2012


You know what is really fun? We have a client that sticks to an older version of Chrome. So what that means is that they have blocked whatever address Chrome uses to auto-update and our designers go crazy every time they have to work with the client as it is nay impossible to install an older version of Chrome because it so nicely hides versioning away.

In reality they don't really test against the older version of Chrome but wait until the customer complains that something is not rendering correctly. It is not that common, thankfully, but old browser problems are not solved by going off of IE for suave IT departments.
posted by geoff. at 4:44 PM on June 14, 2012


I'm fascinated by technology and how it affects different generations and how different generations use it.

My pop (77 yrs old) runs Firefox (because I installed it for him) but he's from the "if it ain't broke, why fix it" generation. If it weren't for me, he'd probably be on IE6. Yes, he's still running XP, but again, it ain't broke and he's able to do all the things he needs to do (which is really just checking email, writing some docs and visiting some websites) so why should he spend several hundred dollars upgrading his computer? In his day, you bought an appliance only a few times in a lifetime. The Kenmore fridge didn't need an upgrade, the lawnmower didn't need an upgrade. They bought something once and that was it. Anyway, I think this explains some of the reason people don't update things.

I think younger generations are more "upgrade friendly" and are more accepting and used to buying and/or upgrading the same product over and over throughout their lifetime; I see cousins who see nothing wrong with buying a new iPad every time the latest one comes out.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:46 PM on June 14, 2012


My pop (77 yrs old) runs Firefox (because I installed it for him) but he's from the "if it ain't broke, why fix it" generation. If it weren't for me, he'd probably be on IE6. Yes, he's still running XP, but again, it ain't broke and he's able to do all the things he needs to do (which is really just checking email, writing some docs and visiting some websites) so why should he spend several hundred dollars upgrading his computer? In his day, you bought an appliance only a few times in a lifetime. The Kenmore fridge didn't need an upgrade, the lawnmower didn't need an upgrade. They bought something once and that was it. Anyway, I think this explains some of the reason people don't update things.

I think the correct analogy to make all this make sense to someone who grew up before computers is "cars".
posted by kafziel at 5:05 PM on June 14, 2012


Worst case: "phones"
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on June 14, 2012


What's interesting in having older audiences as clients is that they're absolutely, totally, beyond-tin-foil paranoid about building a web site and what they think is going to happen:

"We want people to print out this contact form and mail it to us--criminals will track us down and take our stuff otherwise, plus they'll diddle my granddaughter!"

"What? This is just a form. They fill it out and it gets emailed to you. Your personal information isn't even on the site."

Queue a long story about their friend Charlene who once had a site and is now minus a kidney from the Russian gangs...yadda yadda. These people are terrified about that, but run un-patched, ancient operating systems and elderly, security-broken browsers as they poke around the web, every day. It's like worrying about caulking a window which doesn't have any glass.
posted by maxwelton at 5:32 PM on June 14, 2012


it's fair to say that without Safari/WebKit, there would be no Chrome, no Android browser, no Maxthon, no Blackberry browser, no OmniWeb (which brought a number of enhancements that ended up in major browsers), etc.

You're really picking an odd place to begin that story, seeing as WebKit began with Apple forking the existing KHTML and KJS libraries from KDE. By that logic, Safari, Chrome and all those other browsers owe their existence to the founding of Trolltech in 1994 and the KDE project in 1996. But wait, those things couldn't have happened without the Linux kernel, the GNU toolchain, and the GNU C library, so it looks like all browsers today owe everything to Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. But wait! Linux and the GNU project were both formed as a response to the need for a free Unix-like replacement, so I guess all modern browsers owe everything to AT&T Bell Labs for inventing Unix. But wait! Unix grew out of Thompson and Ritchie porting the game Space Travel to the PDP-7. Clearly then Chrome and all other WebKit browsers owe their entire existence to Space Travel. Without Space Travel we would have no modern web browsers but Mozilla and IE and Opera. Clearly.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Several people cite "security" concerns, for example:] At some point, every browser stops getting security updates. Which means that using it poses a huge security risk.

And it's the job of every independent web site to make sure the people browsing it have--in the eyes of the all-knowing designer--the appropriate level of security? Just another classic case of "I know better than you." The user is exposed to risk through an unpatched browser, but the server isn't. What's next? I don't get to use your site if I'm running as root or Administrator? If I'm running on Windows do you get to check that all the latest Windows Updates are installed and my antivirus definitions are up to date? Can you probe my firewall and assess a surcharge if you decide a port that's open shouldn't be? At what point exactly does my personal security stop being your concern? If Microsoft entered into a binding agreement to provide security patches for IE7 until the heat death of the universe, would that abrogate your support of this "tax"?

As far as "having to employ more people," in what sense, exactly, is that my responsibility as the user? Should I get "taxed" when you migrate to a new platform and some of your staff have to work overtime? If a costs-benefit analysis shows that supporting IE7 (or whatever technology or browser you want to arbitrarily decide is outmoded and unworthy of your consideration) is not warranted, then don't do it. Put up a polite error message. Or just let the page render poorly; even that would be more considerate to customers than this arrogant condescension.

Of course as others have pointed out the best option is to degrade the user experience gracefully, but fat chance with that. After all, I might miss out on the whiz-bang design you spent so much time on! I used Lynx long into the Netscape era and clearly remember being positively frustrated by how many websites were absolutely inaccessible despite the ease with which a degraded experience could be provided. Nobody could be bothered then, and now we actually have people applauding the idea of "taxing" customers for it now. It's appalling and there's absolutely no excuse for it.

Again, I appreciate that the web has long been fractured and as one of my respondents said, there's no "fun" in trying to finesse your code to work in every browser. I would reply that work doesn't always get to be "fun"; sometimes it's just necessary. But ultimately, if you're in the position of having to support IE7, it's because a significant percentage of your customer base is using it--significant enough that you've somehow determined that you'll receive more benefit from supporting it after subtracting the costs of doing so. Right? And now you want to tack on a 6.8% "tax"--penalizing customers who want to spend more money at your site even though it isn't costing you more to support those customers compared to customers who spend less! All because it wasn"t "fun' to do all that yucky rotten no good work to get your site sorted out so you could properly take money from those IE7 users.

I realize I won't change the mind of anybody giving this shocking idea plaudits--of course none of you would use IE7 unless there was a gun to your head--but even if you decide you ultimately agree with what Kogan is doing, I hope you take a moment to do a little mental experiment and question what your reaction would be to a similar situation. Just pretend that it happened to you. Say it's some device you own with a certain browser preloaded. With your device you can shop on Amazon, you can Facebook and Twitter--but this particular site has decided that supporting you and the 5% of web users with your device is so onerous that it's going to treat you poorly as a customer and tack on a 6.8% surcharge to your purchase that it will obstreperously refer to as a "tax on [device] users." Would you nod sagely and dump your device in the trash--or click away and never return?
posted by kjh at 7:15 PM on June 14, 2012


This is asinine. The vast majority of people could give a shit what browser they use; if it works fine for them, why the hell should they upgrade? "Web designers" have had a hugely self-inflated sense of importance for a long, long time. You may care a lot about nitpicky CSS standards and bleeding-edge HTML features but the customers viewing your web site probably don't. If I ever saw a message like that, I would be sure to click away instanteously and file a little mental note never to go back to that site. I don't know what this company sells but I bet there's nothing that can't be found somewhere else. What a vile, hostile thing to do to your customers. Here is a ladder, Kogan web developers, please do get over yourselves.

This. I'm buying a DVD of "Beethoven" people, not landing a Mars probe fer chrissakes.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:59 PM on June 14, 2012


Dear 5% of our customers: You're costing us more than you make us. You're fired. Love, your retailer.

Seems reasonable to me.
posted by underflow at 8:20 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit. That's ridiculous. How common is this sort of thing?

More than you'd think. A lot of companies have developed custom Intranets/Web apps that only work in IE6 or 7, and rather than pay the money to upgrade the app, they force their users onto outdated browsers.
posted by brand-gnu at 12:37 PM on June 14 [+] [!]


Ditto here. A couple of years ago I had to roll back my personal machine to IE6 so I could work from home. Now they have moved up to IE7. Anything else is probably going to take a few more years.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:47 PM on June 14, 2012


IE8 is the new IE6, it's true.

But support for most anything that would make your life as a user easier is pretty abysmal in IE7 (form validation, better CSS support to make pages load faster, faster JavaScript interpretation, HTML5 elements like canvas, etc.). Plus the goddamn double float bug that will never be fixed, which has been a particular thorn in my side for years.

To sum up: the web is changing faster than ever before, and if you insist on using any version of IE <9>The Twilight Zone where all language has shifted for everyone except for one dude, and he can't live in a world where "lunch" is now called "dinosaur."

Every time you use IE7 or IE8, the saints cry. Goodnight.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:52 PM on June 14, 2012


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "The Twilight Zone where all language has shifted for everyone except for one dude, and he can't live in a world where "lunch" is now called "dinosaur.""

It's this one.

Hey, directed by Wes Craven!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:01 PM on June 14, 2012


they link to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Well these are the only browsers that are cross platform, Linux, OS X, Windows, and in some cases more. Though frankly Opera has such a small user base we don't support it either.

I agree whole heartedly with any such initiatives as these. We tell all of our clients that support for browsers that don't support web standards could incur extra charges depending on the type of layout they want their sites to have. On some projects it literally takes many additional hours to get a site to function in IE6/7. In the last 2 years none of our clients have cared. Before that, some did. New browsers are free and they can run along side the older ones if they are different browsers. For those at work who are forced to use ancient browsers buy personal things off work hours.

Unfortunately, though IE8 and 9 are much improved they usually remain the "surprise" browsers where we have to do use some sort of hack to make the page render as perfectly as it does in Gecko and Webkit browsers.
posted by juiceCake at 10:51 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


But ultimately, if you're in the position of having to support IE7, it's because a significant percentage of your customer base is using it--significant enough that you've somehow determined that you'll receive more benefit from supporting it after subtracting the costs of doing so.

What? They've determined the cost of supporting IE7 is not worth the benefit. In fact, I bet they've also decided that that they can lose everyone who uses IE7 and still come out ahead, and this 6.8% surcharge thing is just to encourage them to go away. That or you pay their surcharge, which is fine by them too.

Would you nod sagely and dump your device in the trash--or click away and never return?

Either option is fine by them, is all I'm saying.
posted by Xany at 9:28 AM on June 15, 2012


Dear 5% of our customers: You're costing us more than you make us. You're fired. Love, your retailer.

Seems reasonable to me.


That is, however, exactly how we got in this mess.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2012


we have thin clients running apps over citrix. the servers are all virtual instances on a box in the rack in the locked computer room. right-clicking is disabled in windoze. i can read and write to a usb stick but no executables on that stick will execute. nothing will execute that isn't on a server. at least (in a moment of generosity/mercy/pity) they decided to make chrome and firefox available as well as IE.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:15 AM on June 15, 2012


AIIEEE TGE DREAD NAME CITRIX!
/bashes head against wall.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on June 15, 2012




jQuery 2.0 will be dropping uspport for IE 6, 7 and 8

Which means I'll be stuck using 1.9 (or doing some horrid fork) until 2020 or something.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on June 29, 2012


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