Three Cheers for the End of Browser Versions

January 08, 2013 Kalev Peekna

There are no words more spine-chilling to a web designer or developer than “IE6” or “IE7”. Read the tech update below to learn why we can finally say goodbye to ancient browser versions.

At the end of 2011, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 10 would default to an automatic updating mechanism. With the change, IE 10 joins the other major browser platforms – Chrome, Safari and Firefox – in ensuring that users are kept continuously on the most up-to-date version.

Now that IE10 has been released, businesses and individual users can finally start enjoying the impact of this change – and the impact is significant indeed. Previously, all updates and patches to the browser had to be applied with manual effort. Corporate IT departments, charged with guarding stability amid a flurry of fast-paced patches, throttled the release of updates. Patches were grouped and released on controlled schedules, according to the resources and needs of individual organizations. Companies skipped versions or froze updates as a way of controlling their expenses. Now organizations must allow quick and easy updates if they want to ensure security and inter-operability.

It’s easy enough to understand why Microsoft made the change. Of course, it improves user experience and ensures better mobile compatibility. But perhaps more importantly, it reduces the incredible effort required to update older versions. Because of the old habits of skipping or ignoring version updates, Microsoft was forced to provide critical patches simultaneously to as many as four major versions of IE. Now Microsoft can focus its product development efforts on a single, always-current version.

So why should interactive marketers care?
Because marketers can finally erase older browsers from the list of concerns when creating or updating websites. Time and money that was wasted trying to ensure an acceptable experience for users with 10-year-old software can now be spent on real innovation. Marketers can take advantage of new HTML5 technology and design techniques that were previously seen as too “on the edge” for corporate or B2B audiences.

The full change in habits may take some time – perhaps months, perhaps even longer – but it’s coming more quickly than you may expect. Though we don’t often say this here at One North, we salute Microsoft for encouraging their world of users to embrace change and innovation as a natural part of living on the web.

P.S. Microsoft’s marketing team is having some real fun marketing their new browser. For a few laughs, as well as examples of great tongue-in-cheek messaging, check out their Browser You Loved to Hate site.

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Kalev Peekna Managing Director, Chief Strategist

Kalev Peekna is the Chief Strategist at One North, leading the Digital Strategy team. He brings a cross-platform, user-focused approach to innovations in brand development, design, data analysis and technology, and helps clients apply those innovations to their strategic aims.

  • If I were a vegetable: I would be broccoli. Because I have always wanted someone to call me “cruciferous.” 
  • Most unusual job: Cocktail bartender at a Cabaret

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