Australian Retailer Enforces IE7 Tax to Encourage Browser Upgrades

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is on the decline, and Microsoft has phased out support for the old version of its browser. With web developers having difficulty in building websites for different platforms, there is an attendant cost to supporting older browsers like IE 7. Publishers are looking for ways to save money, time and effort on web development.

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Australian online retailer has found a solution by taxing IE7 users with an additional fee for “rendering the website into an antique browser.” The online retailer is charging a 6.8% tax on purchases made when a user has accessed the site using the obsolete browser.

CEO Ruslan Kogan says this is due to the additional expense that the company’s IT team has to undertake in order to support the old browser. “I was constantly on the line to my web team. The amount of work and effort involved in making our website look normal on IE7 equalled the combined time of designing for Chrome, Safari and Firefox,” he said to BBC.

Kogan says customers praised the company for its efforts, and says it was most likely that users would want to upgrade to a more recent version of Internet Explorer, or switch to other modern browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Other companies and web services have likewise undertaken moves to move away from supporting old browser technologies. In December last year, Facebook said it was ceasing support for IE7, particularly with the launch of its Timeline interface. Google has also ceased support for old browser technologies as early as June last year.

Google Chrome has recently overtaken Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser, although some enterprise users are reportedly still sticking with older browsers due to compatibility with their Intranets and enterprise software. IE7 use has fallen to 4% worldwide, though, and efforts like Kogan’s IE7 “tax” might help further reduce this figure.