You've probably heard all the buzz lately about the renewed 'browser wars' of late (if you haven't check this out). Now that the browser landscape is competitive again, users are beginning to see a lot of great innovations coming relatively quickly. As a result, it's an exciting time for internet users.
However, despite all the innovation, there are still many people across the world using obsolete browsers, and we're getting to the point where it's becoming a big problem. Despite Microsoft's best efforts, Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) still represents 20% of the global market share. But why does it matter?
If you're one of those still using an obsolete internet browser, here are three huge reasons to take a minute to upgrade it for free:
- Security - Think about how many times you've heard about a major cybercriminal attack or a widespread virus epidemic over the past few months. Now think about how many you've heard about since 2001. That's right, IE6 is nine years old, and one in five internet users are still on it. In a world where thousands of cybercriminals are find new ways to exploit the latest technology every day, browser makers are constantly forced to update their code to keep us safe. IE6 has been patched dozens of times, but Microsoft has taken it as far as it can go. To date, there are 22 known security vulnerabilities in IE6 that will likely never be fixed. These vulnerabilities are common knowledge among hackers, and they know that they can exploit these vulnerabilities any time they like and still reach a defenseless 20% of the world's internet population. Using IE6 (or even IE7) is a needless risk that is getting more dangerous with each passing day, and offers no benefits whatsoever.
- Compatibility - Web technology has come a long way in the past decade, and web standards have evolved with them. Old browsers were designed to interpret HTML code that no longer exists in the same form. Because of this, web developers are forced to modify and test their code in different browsers to make sure that users get the experience that is intended. However, as with any technology, the industry moves on and stops supporting obsolete versions as newer versions become widespread. As time passes, more organizations will stop supporting older browsers and, as a result, fewer websites and web applications will work properly on those platforms. Most recently, Google has announced it will drop support for Gmail in IE6, which will have major implications for thousands of Gmail users across the globe - unless they upgrade their browsers.
- Productivity - For most of the past decade, Microsoft remained virtually unchallenged for its dominance in the world of web browsers. Over the past few years, however, the landscape has changed drastically. All the competition that has been introduced has caused all browser companies, Microsoft included, to rush to innovate and improve their products in order to remain competitive. The result of this competition has been a vast array of improved performance and features in the latest browsers. From improved speed to widgets to extensions, ditching your old browser for a new one could yield immediate productivity gains, not to mention a more satisfying browsing experience. For me, one session on Chrome or Opera was enough to make me a believer that enhanced loading speed makes my life better. Add that to the host of extensions I've come to rely upon, and I can say with total confidence that using IE6 or IE7 would be a needlessly frustrating experience at this point.
The bottom line is this: there is absolutely no reason not to upgrade to a new browser. Your productivity will increase, you'll be safer from online attackers, you'll enjoy a faster, better looking internet with more tools, and the upgrade costs you nothing and takes just a few moments.
If you haven't yet, do yourself, your company, and your web developer a favor and give one of these leading browsers a try:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8
Mozilla Firefox v3.5.5
Google Chrome v220.127.116.11
Apple Safari 4
Opera Web Browser 10.10
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