IE6 and IE7 combined have about as much share of the market as IE8, easily beating all versions of Firefox, which is an issue for both Microsoft and its corporate users. IE8 is touted as being the most secure browser, but apparently this has not affected corporate upgrade decisions.
The challenge for Microsoft is how to shepherd its corporate users along the upgrade path. This particular flock of sheep are a very reticent bunch. Whereas the Firefox flock are a lot more happy to upgrade, with 16.8 percent of the market on the latest version and only 5.84 percent on the previous three versions.
This compares with 31.4 percent on IE8 and 28.3 percent for older Microsoft versions. This data includes all browser users; perhaps a corporate view would show a much starker picture for Microsoft in terms of old versions hanging around.
Microsoft is proudly saying that with IE9 it is connecting the browser directly to the power of the graphics card. This is likely to have some interesting side effects, not least the need for a new breed of anti-malware sitting nearer to the graphics card. Do I really want a beefed up browser just as browsers are becoming a key threat vector?
Corporates should look carefully before upgrading to the new IE9, as it may be strengthening the power of browser-in-the-middle attacks.
This reminds me of the dirty secret of the airline check in desk - they still use a text based command line interface. Take a peak at the screen next time you use one the manual check in desks. Not for them a wondrous point and click environment, as they have this silly idea that the combination of man and machine should enhance productivity, not reduce it.
I wonder when Microsoft will grasp that fact, rather than assuming the user will be dumb and happy, perhaps they should focus on a browser that enhances both productivity and security. When one assumes intelligent and aware users, the sky is the limit for productivity and security.
All this and backwards compatibility is likely to have the corporate world looking ever more fondly at their favourite IE6 browser. What to do? Let's keep it another year.... and focus on raising the awareness of our users.
Adrian Seccombe, Jericho Forum board member