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Monday, August 15, 2011

TECH WORLD: Making users upgrade software, a challenge for browser creators!


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K. Ramachandran, The Hindu / KOCHI, August 14, 2011.

This screen shot provided by Microsoft Corp., shows Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 9. When Microsoft has already begun promoting Internet Explorer 9, there are still a good number of people who are using version 6 in different parts of the world.
This screen shot provided by Microsoft Corp., shows Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 9. When Microsoft has already begun promoting Internet Explorer 9, there are still a good number of people who are using version 6 in different parts of the world - AP.


Insistence on upgrading for making user more secure and up-to-date.

The makers of major browsers are facing an uphill task in persuading a reluctant section of users to upgrade their software to the latest versions, despite these coming free of cost.
Microsoft, for instance, has found it challenging to get users to let go of an outdated version 6 of its browser, Internet Explorer (IE). Now, almost a decade after it released version 6, there are still a good number of people who are using it in different parts of the world. And this, when Microsoft has already begun promoting version 9.
It has even set up a site (www.ie6countdown.com), which displays statistics relating to the usage of this particular version of the browser worldwide, to ‘educate' users about the need for a switchover.
Figures for July indicated that 9.7 per cent of global browser use was accounted for by IE6, but the share is much more in certain countries — China has 30.5 per cent of people using this browser, South Korea 16.9 per cent and India, just under 9 per cent. The target is to bring down the percentage of global users of IE 6 to below 1 per cent.
The company has consistently urged users to upgrade to the latest version of the browser “since helping our customers become more secure and up-to-date is a top priority for Microsoft,” said Senthilkumar Sundaram, Director-Internet Explorer, Consumer and Online, Microsoft India, when asked about the IE 6 usage trend recently.
This is true not just about Internet Explorer but many other browsers as well. “About 50 per cent of the market is not using the absolute latest and greatest of their browser of choice. About 10 per cent are using a really old browser like IE6. There are huge regional differences here,” says Jan Standal, Vice-President, Desktop Products, Opera Software.
When the major browsers, including Firefox and Google Chrome, are free products, why is it that a section of users seem reluctant to go for the upgrades, which come in faster cycles these days?
Predictably, some users feel that installing and switching over to the new version of the browser could prove a disruptive experience, but the makers of Firefox found in a survey, about a year ago, that there are two other prominent reasons for not upgrading — users simply did not have the time for it or found no reason to opt for change when everything was working fine with the old browser. Their surveys over the years have also found that the some of the diverse reasons for users sticking on to the old versions may vary from season to season.
Mr. Standal says: “People have various reasons not to upgrade. Mostly, it is because they don't care to or don't know how to. This is mostly solved for people using modern browsers, as all browsers except Internet Explorer now have automatic updates.” They hardly pose hassles to people when upgrading. Besides, there are companies that have a policy of not updating browsers “due to a fear of their internal systems not working with new browsers.”

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