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Aussie Online Retailer Impose IE7 Tax

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the cost-of-an-upgrade dept.

The Internet 365

First time accepted submitter Techy77 writes "Online retailer Kogan will impose a new tax on its customers that visit its website using Microsoft's outdated Internet Explorer 7 web browser, which means they will spend 6.8 percent more than customers on browsers like Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome. From the article: 'Kogan said his company was able to keep prices low by using technology to make its business efficient and streamlined. however its web team was having to spend a lot of time making its new website look normal on IE7. "It’s not only costing us a huge amount, it’s affecting any business with an online presence, and costing the Internet economy millions,” Mr Kogan said. “As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit.”'"

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Erm... (-1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320357)

Market distortion? Anti-competitive? Of all the people you could pick a fight with, you'd have to have fair-sized cojones to take on Microsoft... old software or not.

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320399)

If it encourages folks to upgrade to v8 or v9, I imagine microsoft would be pretty happy with it actually. They've been campaigning for people to stop using v7

Re:Erm... (5, Informative)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320441)

Not only have they campaigned to get people move from v7, Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are actually pretty awesome browsers. They're finally lightweight and share similar design to Chrome and Firefox, they are standards compliant and they feel great to use. On top of that they are currently the most secure browsers because of heavy sandboxing, JIT hardening and so on. Microsoft did a really good work with the new versions.

Re:Erm... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320497)

People have been saying IE is awesome and much better and fixed all the problems of last version, since the the second release. They've been wrong the entire time of course. At this point, why bother with it?

Re:Erm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320709)

Browsers should be left to people who understand browsers to make. Safari is a pile of rubbish as well.

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320801)

Instead of FUD is it too hard to address his points? It kills me in what is supposed to be a technical forum that someone who claims IE is awesome with some examples why is a troll and a response that "IE sucks" is 5 Insightful. We all know /. hates Microsoft. Fine, we get it. But come on, don't mod like an AC.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320835)

People have been saying IE is awesome and much better and fixed all the problems of last version, since the the second release. They've been wrong the entire time of course. At this point, why bother with it?

To be really fair to microsoft, IE4 was the best browser of its time, by such a wide margin it just annihilated the competition for about 5 years. IE3 was also about equivalent to Netscape 3 if a little inferior.

Since then, it's been downhill, and then catch up. Still not there yet, but thing actually do improve.

Re:Erm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320513)

"They're finally lightweight and share similar design to Chrome and Firefox, they are standards compliant and they feel great to use."

But do they have Adblock, Noscript and Ghostery?

Re:Erm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320655)

Ad Muncher replaces all 3 of those and more.

www.admuncher.com

it also works on all of your browsers simultaneously.

Re:Erm... (4, Interesting)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320901)

It also costs money, where the others are free.

So. There's that.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320537)

Which begs the question why was the world's largest and wealthiest software company not able to do a "really good work" with previous versions? They didn't know how? Couldn't be bothered? Enjoy causing mischief?

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320679)

Vendor lock-in. That's why so many companies are stuck on IE6.

Re:Erm... (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320699)

Varying opinions on what "really good work" is.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320627)

I can't stand IE 10 and the address bar at the bottom deal...

Re:Erm... (2, Interesting)

danhuby (759002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320651)

Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are actually pretty awesome browsers.

That might be so, but I don't like them because I need Windows Vista or Windows 7 to be able to test my web apps with them, unlike most of the other browsers which are cross-platform. They are locked in to Microsoft and force developers to run Windows if they want to ensure compatibility. I can't even use the ancient Windows XP laptop I keep around for the IE6, 7, and 8 testing, because for some reason they've decided the newer browsers won't run on XP (for marketing rather than technical reasons I expect).

Re:Erm... (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320693)

Nope. IE9 uses the 3d desktop compositing which is only available starting with Vista.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320721)

So does firefox, and i imagine chrome uses something similar. Both of these work on XP, and OSX, and Linux...

Re:Erm... (1)

danhuby (759002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320723)

And there was absolutely no way they could implement this in a way that would work on earlier versions of Windows, or on other operating systems?

Funny that Chrome, Safari, Opera etc. don't have the same issues. I believe Chrome also uses 3D acceleration when available?

Re:Erm... (5, Informative)

Noread (2270278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320781)

Microsoft provides Virtual PC images for a range of IE + Windows versions to test your website with.

Check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11575 [microsoft.com]

Re:Erm... (1, Informative)

danhuby (759002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320873)

I've used them (with VirtualBox). They are large and slow, and it would probably be easier to buy a cheap Windows 7 laptop instead.

I hate having to go through all of this for one browser, when supporting Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera is so easy in comparison.

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320425)

IE 7 is not standards compliant. So, therefore, IE 7 is proprietary internet graphical interface, that can display content from HTTP servers, that is encoded using microsofts proprietary content protocol.....which may be similar, but is not HTML/CSS.

Microsoft chose to do this, in order to try and leverage msHTML into the open internet. They failed. However, the mess they left is still around. Why shouldn't online retailers charge more to customers who insist in using proprietary clients, to cover the cost of converting the standards compliant HTML, to the Microsoft format?

Re:Erm... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320467)

You must be a blast at parties

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320499)

So what implications does this have for proprietary mobile browsers? Companies can suddenly decide, 'fuck it, I'll just charge them more for not using my browser of choice'?

Whilst nobody cares about IE7, the wider implications of this are potentially pretty onerous.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

clemdoc (624639) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320569)

Of course they can. They can charge you whatever they want without giving any reason whatsoever. And you can take your shopping somewhere else. In the end, it probably won't be done on a large scale because people can compare prices on the internet rather easily.
I agree with you on your main point however: Philosophically, this sucks.

Re:Erm... (-1, Troll)

DemomanDeveloper (2658739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320765)

Actually, no. There are rules about when charging specific customers more is illegal. Just think about charging black people more than white people. This is very similar case.

Re:Erm... (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320869)

Switching between black and white skin color is rather... involved. Switching gender, sexual preference, height, natural hair color is equally difficult, if not impossible.

Upgrading to a different browser, on the other hand, is what most people do quite regularly. Usuallly it involves a few minutes at most.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320583)

So what implications does this have for proprietary mobile browsers? Companies can suddenly decide, 'fuck it, I'll just charge them more for not using my browser of choice'?

Of course companies can do that. I don't think anyone (except possibly you?) questions that they should be allowed to. Just like they can charge extra to customers that drive Ford cars or whatever. Doesn't seem very likely that they will unless it makes economic sense though.

Re:Erm... (-1, Troll)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320707)

The next logical step then is to charge disabled users more, because it costs more to implement more disability accessible websites. This is the point I'm trying to push people towards...

Re:Erm... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320729)

Browsers are chosen, disabilities are not. That's a huge difference.

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320839)

Not all browsers are chosen unless you only use PCs you manage. And his point is valid. Not everyone has an ADA.

Re:Erm... (2)

curiousJan (2528280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320619)

So what implications does this have for proprietary mobile browsers? Companies can suddenly decide, 'fuck it, I'll just charge them more for not using my browser of choice'? Whilst nobody cares about IE7, the wider implications of this are potentially pretty onerous.

The wider implication as I see it is as people are economically encouraged to use standards-compliant browsers, companies are economically encouraged to produce them. If the surcharge is truly based on support for non-standards-compliant browsers, it shouldn't affect only IE7/M$. For Kogan to point directly to IE7 is a pretty good PR stunt though.

Re:Erm... (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320779)

IE is about the only browser which is both non standard enough to require extra work to support, and widely used enough that doing that extra work is economically viable...

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320717)

No they aren't.
They are already doing this and has always done this, but not by charging more, but by simply shutting them out.
It is a simple business decision, nothing onerous.

Re:Erm... (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320753)

Well it depends how they do it...

They chose to code their site to standards, and that then covered any properly written browser...
They had to do a lot of extra work to support IE7, and i imagine any other non standard browser that didn't have such a user base would simply not work at all. It's only fair that users who are more expensive to support, have to pay more to cover the extra support they require.

The alternatives are either:

Everyone else subsidises the extra development work required to support nonstandard browsers...
They simply don't support non standard browsers at all, which will make the (usually fairly technically ignorant) users of those browsers just think the site is broken.

Re:Erm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320503)

Why shouldn't online retailers charge more to customers who insist in using proprietary clients, to cover the cost of converting the standards compliant HTML, to the Microsoft format?

Sure they can, its just average people who don't give a shit and just want things to work will go to some other website.

Also care to point me to a single web client that conforms to 100% of HTML/CSS ? No? well... shut the fuck up then.

Re:Erm... (1, Flamebait)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320831)

IE8 is a free upgrade available for all versions of windows that can run IE7.
I dare bet Microsoft itself would rather their IE7 users upgrade to IE8 as well.

Block or ignore IE7 perhaps? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320361)

Wouldnt it just be as effective to block IE7, or stop making effort to code for it ?

Re:Block or ignore IE7 perhaps? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320447)

No, 'cos that wouldn't get you the free publicity of being on /., boing boing etc. I've never heard of Kogan, and I lived in Aus for 7 years. Do now.

Re:Block or ignore IE7 perhaps? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320485)

No.

Re:Block or ignore IE7 perhaps? (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320793)

What i was thinking, since site can be coded for certain browsers like computer and mobile, they could set it separate page up for if they are using IE7 it sends them to a simple page saying you are using an old version with links to either firefox, chrome or the newer version of IE.

Interesting (5, Insightful)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320367)

While I am sure there will be people complaining, I do have to say I think this is a good idea. It helps get people to using more up to date web browser and stops dragging things along. It also helps keep prices low by making those people help pay the extra coast to keep there outdated browser still working for this their site.

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320389)

Or, the people will use IE7 to browse, and Chrome/FF to purchase?

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320433)

Only to some extend. Soon enough people will be using Chrome/FF/opera/whatever for more than just purchases and after a while, they will stop using IE7.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320405)

I think it is also an excellent idea, but just don't tax IE7, tax all old browser versions irrelevant of maker.
There is nothing like a financial incentive to socially motivate people, it is like dangling carrots in front of donkeys.

Re:Interesting (1, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320415)

Firefox has the auto updater which OUGHT be keeping most folks up to date, and even old versions of chrome are pretty web dev friendly.

All 4 users of opera might have reasons to grumble if they are still using an ancient version, for some absurd reason.

Re:Interesting (1)

Waldeinburg (737568) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320457)

IE7 is an economical burden on the company because they have to spend developing time on making the site work in that particular browser. Can you say the same of, e.g., Firefox 3.6, which is the latest version of Firefox that Tiger users can upgrade to?

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320511)

Move with the times, or be left behind. Keep up at the back will you!

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320577)

Firefox 3 vs say 12 isn't that bad its reasonably standards compliant.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320851)

Firefox 12? What the fuck is keeping you from upgrading? You can't expect businesses to support your outdated browser.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320829)

There's a few important differences here...

Old firefox/chrome are quite standards compliant, so unless you are using new features everything will look the same anyway... If you are using those new features, then HTML is designed to degrade gracefully and so should still work but just look less pretty. This is why many sites work in text browsers like lynx or links..
Also, the vast majority of firefox or chrome users tend to upgrade to current versions.

IE on the other hand has broken implementations, which will result in very non graceful errors, totally broken/unusable functionality or major rendering errors.

As such, making the site work in IE is considerably more work than allowing it to degrade gracefully in a standards compliant browser.

When it comes to old browsers which require explicit work to support, IE is about the only one that is still being used anywhere... The others, eg netscape are so rare as to get lost in the noise... They're not going to expend any effort to support browsers which are used by 0.00001% of users.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320861)

Most people using IE7 are probably stuck with it at work or on a work laptop and can't do anything about it, so I doubt it will "encourage" much upgrading unfortunately.

The Whiners (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320377)

Fuck 'em.

Goatse browser (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320391)

opens with ease, aims to please... fullscreen everyday.

mo3 up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320397)

revel in our gay knows that ever in the sun. In the fucking surp4rise, of the warring result of a quarrel raise or lower the ME! It's official those uber-asshole and committees locating #GNAA, Due to the troubles Discussion I'm BSD fanatics? I've it attempts to Baby take my the goodwill

Tax should be used to fund time travel research (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320409)

Then we can can go back and eradicate the outhouse developers who wrote code that doesn't run on browsers other than IE7 in business environments and for which there is no budget to develop new costly solutions.

Semantics (1)

Myu (823582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320429)

If it's just an extra charge, it's not a Tax. Tax is imposed by Law. Get it Right.

Re:Semantics (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320703)

The term "Microsoft tax" refers to the practice of every PC maker other than Apple to force customers to buy a copy of Windows with every name-brand PC. Is that a tax? It's imposed by law: copyright and patent.

Re:Semantics (0, Redundant)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320799)

It is not covered by copyright and patent it is covered contract law or because the manufacturer does not want to deal with providing seperate hardware.
Part of the reason MS did go this route was to combat piracy but that is different from saying is the law imposing it.

IE6 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320439)

...gets you shot.

Re:IE6 (2)

Yeti.SSM (869826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320523)

As I can tell so far, using IE 3.0 doesn't (I just tried). The "BUY NOW" button doesn't work, though.
Same stuff for Mosaic 1.0 and 3.0 (crash). The site seems to work in Lynx but I was unable to find the shopping cart in the 23 pages of rubbish.

The fancy JavaScript doesn't work in SeaMonkey 2.13a1 nightly (build 20120613003002) for some reason. Too bad, I won't buy anything then (here in Europe)...

economy of scale (1, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320445)

Presumably if this has the intended impact of motivating people to upgrade their browser, or even if it just drives them away from the site, as the number of IE7 using customers decreases, the rate of tax will have to increase.

The same amount of effort will be required to make the site IE7 compatible, but there will be less people paying to cover that cost. Eventually I suppose it would come to a point where the tax would need to be so high that everyone will have upgraded or left.

Re:economy of scale (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320465)

No. At some point there will be so few people using IE7 that they will stop supporting it.

Re:economy of scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320519)

You are completely missing the point. The tax is not there to cover the cost of developing for IE7. It is just there to drive people away from IE7 to better browsers.

Re:economy of scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320557)

But if the design the site to work with IE7, all they need to do is to change the user agent (assuming that works) or change browsers before check out.

Why changing the user agent might not work (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320711)

Changing the user agent won't necessarily work because the browser will still lack support for various JavaScript objects and various CSS selectors. Changing browsers before checking out will probably cause the site to issue you a different set of cookies, which means a different shopping cart.

Re:economy of scale (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320893)

or change browsers before check out.

Or... and I know this sounds kinda crazy... change browsers before even starting to browse the site!

Why would anybody want to use IE7 when they have a more capable browser installed just to switch to right before checkout?

Re:economy of scale (2, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320643)

If that's the case why are they wasting all this time and money supporting IE7 when they could simply stop supporting it and put a message saying "this website will not work with IE7, please upgrade to IE8 or later or one of these other browsers.."? Not that I'm doubting you, it just makes no sense.

Hassle to keep multiple IEs installed (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320735)

If that's the case why are they wasting all this time and money supporting IE7 when they could simply stop supporting it and put a message saying "this website will not work with IE7, please upgrade to IE8 or later or one of these other browsers.."?

Because it's a hassle to keep multiple versions of Windows Internet Explorer installed on a single PC: IE 7 for the web applications or ActiveX applications that one uses at work and IE 8 for browsing public web sites while on break. Or because you're not a member of the Administrators group on the PC that you use daily and therefore lack privileges to upgrade IE or to install Chromium Browser, Firefox, or Opera.

Re:economy of scale (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320897)

Because that wouldn't be news.
Marketing people hate sane ideas; they're too common.

Re:economy of scale (1)

Dan B. (20610) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320663)

Read the article. it is less than 1% of people who visit the website

Re:economy of scale (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320767)

as the number of IE7 using customers decreases, the rate of tax will have to increase

That would only follow if there was a requirement to cover the costs of IE7 out of the revenue obtained from the customers. Private businesses do not have to follow such a restrictive rule (and in fact almost always don't). Nor really do governments, but politics is a dirty game run by people who feel it necessary to act like morons.

Look at the details, and you'll see that the costs of supporting IE7 were already wildly disproportionate to the revenue obtained from it, so increasing the charges still won't cover the costs anyway. It might encourage migration though, which is OK too. The only time things really screw up is when some moron decides that each sub-group of customers has to cover all the costs involved with serving them, as that promotes really odd pricing policies. That moron would be you it seems...

Love It!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320471)

I'm a Web developer myself, and cannot tell you how much time goes into making a website IE7-and-under-proof. If we as developers only had to develop for W3C-compliant browsers, our lives would be so much better, and we could spend the additional time on better designs (and more sleep).

Kudos to Kogan! I wish all online stores (well all websites in general) would follow this practice, the web can be such a better place if everyone used the latest browsers!

making its new website look normal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320481)

Let me get this straight, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to properly appreciate the new website in all its god-given glory is 1) important enough to spend a bunch of development resources on and furthermore 2) important enough to risk annoying potential customers with some ill-conceived scheme to offset #1. So much for function over form eh?

no fan of IE here but this is a lame stunt.

Suckers! (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320493)

I'm on IE6 and don't have to pay the tax lol.

Re:Suckers! (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320641)

Out of curiosity, why?

Re:Suckers! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320705)

Because the tax is on IE7, and Sweeney's on IE6.

Re:Suckers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320795)

I work in a government department. The reason is Oracle and a policy decision that still gives lip service to other standard compliant browsers. Thing is, they have just woken up to the fact that MS's iPhone solutions and conversion is non-existent or crap, but they have no money to fix it (broke like a lot of US states). The selection criteria is on a product, not a standard.

I use lynx (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320525)

Do I have to pay anything extra?

Re:I use lynx (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320587)

Depending on how "rich" the interface is you may not be able to pay at all....

Though I must admit it continues to amaze me how well lynx can display a lot of pages. I only use it in a bind but it has yet to fail me.

Re:I use lynx (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320589)

Yes, but it's only a $0.10 per displayed image tax, so it's actually not that bad.

A Better Way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320563)

If the aim of this "tax" is to discourage people from using IE7 and to cover the costs of making sure that their site works for IE7, surely a better way would be to just not make sure their site works for IE7? Their added costs fall to zero. The encouragement to upgrade to IE8 or 9 is quite a bit larger - the site won't work otherwise.

Of course, the company might feel that they'd lose business that way. But this assumes that their customers would rather pay a little extra than change browser. If they thought their customers would change browser given a good enough reason they can follow this suggestion and provide a really good reason at no cost to themselves.

To me it looks like they think they've found a way to make extra money because they fully expect that a sizeable portion of their customer base will not switch away from IE7 and rather pay more.

pr stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320567)

not much to consider given force updated everyone to ie8 in australia

Display a standard notice? (3, Insightful)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320571)

Many users who run IE7 either have a.) no choice or b.) no idea what is IE7/IE8/IE9 and the differences between them.
Instead of imposing a tax on them which confuses non-tech-savvy end-users, why not display the "IE7 not supported, please follow these instructions to upgrade"?

This tax probably unnecessarily increases complexity in their billing systems, which is never a good thing.

Re:Display a standard notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320681)

If they have no choice, update instructions wouldn't help.
Rather make them feel the pain of the designers, so they can make their admins feel that pain, so that they finally go through the hassle of installing an additional browser. Admins, your stubbornness has to end at some point.

Re:Display a standard notice? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320687)

Dude I have one user who had Firefox installed on her conputer by her late husband after she kept getting infected. I came over and she switched back to IE 7 (not even 8).

I turned on auto update and hopefully she is on IE 8 by default.

These users thnk Firefox doesnt support bookmarks because they cant see them with the new UI. These same users hated IE 9 and refused to upgrade thinking its inferior because they cant see menus. Even slashdotters fit this as we call them XP loyalists and FF 3.6 loyalists. They say this with a smile that they use obsolete products gloating how smart they whike ignoring the 49+ security holes and no updates with flash un sandoxed.

Re:Display a standard notice? (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320803)

1) This is mainly a publicity stunt with an end message.

2) If your billing system can't handle something like this, you probably shouldn't be running a business of that size.

3) Do you really think they will argue if you phone up and tell them you were using Opera or Firefox with User Agent Switching and ask for the original price?

4) Hitting customers in the wallet is the BEST way to grab their attention. I guarantee the response will be larger than if they'd put a 600-pixel-high red flashing banner warning about IE7 for IE7 users of their website.

5) The point is: The people "with no choice" do have a choice. They can pay more or not order at all. Which is incentive enough, if you use this company a lot, to see about upgrading / switching to a better browser. ("Why have our costs to suppliers go up 10%? Because we use IE6? Why don't we install Firefox just for that purpose if nothing else?").

IT has hidden behind the "the IT guys won't let us" banner for too long. If your systems absolutely, categorically cannot upgrade to later versions of IE or Firefox, then you have to wonder what your IT department actually DO for a living and just how much concern they have for the safety of your business data.

It's no different to saying "Sorry, I can't stop logging in as root on an unfirewalled machine to browse Flash websites, the IT guys won't let me." - That would wash with my employers about as much as asking them to use Sinclair ZX Spectrums and pocket calculators instead of PC's. And what better way to demonstrate how out-of-touch your IT department is than to charge them MORE because of the hassle they cause OTHERS by using that old software (let alone the potential hassle they cause themselves).

Don't mistake them for good guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320603)

I've been blocking mail from Kogan at work since 2008, because they started out spamming a whole lot of scraped addresses - including departmental contact addresses, and postmaster. It took them two and a half years to notice and query the block, and my reply to their query bounced - so they remain blocked to this day.

Try all the browsers (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320645)

Aren't you effectively telling your customers... Try our site in ALL available browsers to see which one gives you the largest discount? Today they are charging for IE7, tomorrow for Opera and the day after that for Firefox?

Re:Try all the browsers (3, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320823)

Perfect. Additional hits means additional ad dollars.

Re:Try all the browsers (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320865)

Perfect. Additional hits means additional ad dollars.

Not sure ad-dollars are the preferred choice of revenue for a shop.

A political statement, not a business strategy (1)

drstevep (2498222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320657)

If thier intent is to make a political statement, they will succeed.

If this is a business strategy, it will fail the same way that U.S. health care (ACA) will fail if you require companies to take all subscribers but do not require all people to subscribe.

As a business strategy, they are spreading the tax across IE7 users, a population that is not required to use thier site. IE7 users may choose to go elsewhere ("being insulted" and "higher costs"), which means the *fixed* cost of the support (web site maintenance) is spread across a smaller number of users. From here, basic economics: the fixed cost results in a higher per-user tax. Resulting in fewer users. Cycling to a higher tax again. (This will be true regardless of whether or not some IE7 users upgrade to use their site -- as long as some IE7 users go away, they have a reduced user population and a higher IE7 tax.

The end result will be no IE7 users and fewer users in general.

So they might as well jump to the endpoint: Don't bother coding for IE7 (saving cost), don't tax users (since they aren't using the tax to fund IE7 support), and as long as the drop in revenue/profits is less than the drop in cost, the strategy is successful. A simple log review will give them an estimate of IE7 usage on thier site. This should drive their decision.

Interesting idea, but maybe seeking press coverage (1)

danhuby (759002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320689)

It's an interesting idea, although the percentage seems quite high particularly if they already support IE7 - ongoing efforts to maintain compatibility are probably not that expensive. It can be a real pain at the HTML/CSS build stage though.

I wonder instead if this is an attempt to get a bit of press coverage, like RyanAir who every now and then state they are going to do something outrageous like charge for using the toilet on their aircraft. They never go through with it, but it generates a lot of press interest and further promotes their image as a low cost no frills company.

Can We Say Corporate Greed Policy? (0)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320747)

This comes down to greed. Nothing else.

Imagine if every corporation adopts this sort of policy.

Restaurants - Tax for not wearing the right clothes. - Tax for asking for modification to your orders.
Stores - Tax for not wearing the "approved" shoes, since you are causing more wear on the floor.
Government - Tax for being obese. Tax for not being married. Tax for not belonging to the right religion.
Schools - Taxed for being stupid.

I can go on.

Remember, this is:

Corporate Greed Policy. Coming soon to a corporation near you!

All posters above deprived of a sense of humor? (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320751)

This is a stunt, pure and simple. IE7 use is trivial and you can readily conclude that people who haven't upgraded in 10 years are NOT the primary customer of a computer retailer. People that cheap, don't buy stuff.

The owner of the company is well known for pulling publicity stunts. And hopefully most aussies got a better sense of humor then the whiners above.

As for those saying he should instead display a warning, the site does exactly that, http://www.afr.com/rw/2009-2014/AFR/2012/06/14/Photos/724adc40-b5bf-11e1-a3fb-e6c175e978e8_IE%20tax--236x197.jpg [afr.com]

I wonder why so many are offended by a joke, maybe a lot of them really shouldn't be on this TECH site because they still run IE7 themselves?

This is NOT a business plan or a real tax. It is a publicity stunt to create traffic at the cost of non-existent customers. You don't think that this company really thinks that after a plain warning that customers will be charged more, IE7 users will really pay the increased price? Mind you, they are IE7 users. In reality Kogan looked at their stats, saw a tiny non-significant IE7 usage that their web dev team still had to develop for at greater cost then this groups produces in profit and decided to stir the pot, get some free publicity and be considered by anyone with a sense of a humor as a bunch of all right blokes.

The steps (3, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320785)

1) Unknown company(lets call it B) reads story about another unknown company(lets call it A) becoming known by saying something about IE support.
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/05/29/1222235/startup-skips-ie-support-claims-100000-savings [slashdot.org]

2) Unknown Company B makes up it's own press release about IE support

3) Unknown Company B becomes known

4) Profit.

Phil Zimmermann's post-PGP project (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320825)

Phil Zimmermann's post-PGP project: privacy for a price:
https://silentcircle.com/ [silentcircle.com]

Phil Zimmermann released PGP for free, but he's planning to charge about $20 a month for his new Silent Circle encryption service. It's unlikely to be applauded by encryption-wary law enforcement agencies.

Declan McCullagh | by Declan McCullagh | June 12, 2012 5:30 AM PDT

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57451057-83/phil-zimmermanns-post-pgp-project-privacy-for-a-price/ [cnet.com]

"PGP creator Phil Zimmermann says he thinks people will pay $20 a month for secure communications.
(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET)

He rocketed to privacy stardom over two decades ago with the release of PGP, the first widely available program that made it easy to encrypt e-mail. Now Phil Zimmermann wants to do the same thing for phone calls.

Zimmermann's new company, Silent Circle, plans to release a beta version of an iPhone and Android app in late July that encrypts phone calls and other communications. A final version is scheduled to follow in late September.

This time around, Zimmermann is facing not the possibility of prison time on charges of violating encryption export laws, but a more traditional challenge: convincing would-be users that protecting their privacy is worth paying Silent Circle something like $20 a month.

"I'm not going to apologize for the cost," Zimmermann told CNET, adding that the final price has not been set. "This is not Facebook. Our customers are customers. They're not products. They're not part of the inventory."

Silent Circle's planned debut comes amid recent polls suggesting that Internet users remain concerned about online data collection (or at least are willing to tell pollsters so), with Facebook topping health insurers, banks, and even the federal government as today's No. 1 privacy threat. Yet even after a decade of startups that have tried to capitalize on these concerns, consumers spending their own money remain consistently difficult to persuade that paying for privacy is worth it.

Zimmermann hopes to overcome this reluctance by offering a set of services designed from the start to be simple to use: encrypted e-mail, encrypted phone calls, and encrypted instant messaging. (Encrypted SMS text messages are eventually planned too.)

"We're going after target markets that have a special need for this," Zimmermann said. "For example, U.S. military serving overseas that wish to speak to their families."

One sales pitch unique to Silent Circle is Zimmermann's own history of high-profile support for civil liberties that recently placed him in the Internet Hall of Fame, including spending four years under threat of criminal indictment for releasing PGP in the early 1990s. At the time, encryption software was regulated as a munition, meaning unlicensed export could be a federal felony. Zimmermann later founded PGP Inc., now owned by Symantec.

Symantec has focused far more on selling PGP-branded products to corporations, not individuals. Symantec's Web page for PGP Whole Disk Encryption, for instance, boasts that the utility "provides organizations with comprehensive, high performance full disk encryption" to protect "customer and partner data."

PGP "moved too far away from individual users," Zimmermann says. "It was geared so heavily toward enterprise that I felt it was hard to use for ordinary people. That was kind of sad. My original intent was individuals. Now I get to go back to individuals again."

Also involved in Silent Circle are Mike Janke, a former Navy SEAL sniper turned privacy advocate; Vic Hyder, a Navy SEAL commander and founder of a maritime security firm; and PGP co-founder Jon Callas.

Silent Circle's app will securely scramble conversations -- using end-to-end encryption and the ZRTP protocol -- between two people if both are using its software. If only one person has the app, the connection will be scrambled only to Silent Circle's servers, which could still be valuable for overseas users worried less about the FBI and more about their own government eavesdroppers.

"We will have a Windows PC and a Mac version as well," says Zimmermann, who after selling PGP founded a now-defunct startup called Zfone. "We don't have that now. For our beta, we're just going to have the smartphones, iOS and Android. We'll have the other platforms for the real release."

Law enforcement, which warns that tech advances have made it far more difficult to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, is unlikely to applaud Zimmermann's new venture. As CNET reported last month, the FBI has drafted a proposed law that would require providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail to alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly by building in backdoors for government surveillance.

"If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding" as long as it reaches the threshold for a minimum number of users, an industry representative who reviewed the FBI's draft legislation said.

The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web or peer-to-peer VoIP companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to sweep in broadband networks and VoIP providers such as Vonage (which uses the telephone network) but not Skype-to-Skype calls (which are peer-to-peer).

Depending on the final wording, the legislation could target Silent Circle -- meaning that, 21 years after he released PGP, Phil Zimmermann has not lost his knack for vexing the U.S. government."

© 2012 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.
- http://www.mccullagh.org/ [mccullagh.org]
- http://www.twitter.com/declanm [twitter.com]

You're doing it wrong. (4, Interesting)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320833)

its web team was having to spend a lot of time making its new website look normal on IE7

That's a common problem with "new" web sites. Try writing an "old" web site. It will do everything you need it to do, but it'll be faster, and run on every browser. It can still look very pretty, too.

Or, at the very least, test in increments using various browsers, instead of once you're finished. When I was in college, incremental testing easily made the difference between passing and failing a programming course.

Sounds like poor business practices to me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320859)

Punishing end users because of poor decision making is ridiculous. I'm all for encouraging people to upgrade to more modern, secure browsers but not everyone has a choice. Companies make decisions on projects based upon their potential income. It sounds like someone higher up made a bad decision (to waste a lot of time supporting IE7) and now they're trying to recover from that mistake by turning it into a political statement. Even elementary school kids know how to use Google Analytics to find out the browser usage of their website visitors. Bottom line is, if IE7 users comprise a large enough percentage of customers to spend a significant amount of time and money in custom development, alienating them is probably a poor decision.

fire the webdevs instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320889)

it isn't *that* hard to code a site to look right, and consistent, in ie7 and above as well as the other major browsers

if game publishers did this RE: linux (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320899)

anyone who has actually programmed for linux will understand the problem here. imagine the 'tax' imposed for the support time spent having to workaround the various quirks of redhat, fedora, debian, suse, etc etc. and if you are a zealot about to type in 'oh no its not that hard', kindly tell me which open source project you have actually worked on a release of.

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