A long time ago I added a paragraph to all my web development contracts to define which browsers my work will support. Over the years this paragraph went all the way from
Internet Explorer and Netscape
to IE (7, 8, 9, 10), Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, iPad, iPhone and Android
It kept on growing and surely I'll need to add Windows Phone for my next contract. Given the time I spent hunting down Internet Explorer
bugs I would love to remove IE 7 and 8, but my clients don't agree on this.
I can argue about additional costs, increased development time and the drop in support by many major cooperation (Google
but still clients refuse to remove IE 7 and 8 of the supported browsers list.
So I started to dig around and found some interesting facts about these browsers.
The market share
If you ask web designers or developers they will tell you that they could not survive on IE 7 and 8. They will tell you the only use these browsers have is
to download another browser. We are sorry for people who use these older Internet Explorer versions. But guess what, that is not what the average user will say
The average user is perfectly happy using any browser to get the job done. And, even if you don't like to hear it, Internet Explorer 7 and 8 do get the job done.
They may not be particular fast but you can browse the web and use facebook just fine. And if something goes wrong the average user will always blame the
and not their browser.
Let's take a look at the actual market share. Based on whom you ask you get a market share of about 15% - 25% for Internet Explorer 7 and 8.
Why do people still use these browsers even if Chrome or IE 10 can render circles around each one?
Why people still use this browsers
Everyone always talks about the cooperate environment are causing the usage of old browsers using a restricted
IT environment and the lack of administration rights. But I think that's only half the truth.
Given the fact that the operating system Windows XP still holds a nice market share of about 20% we can guess who still uses IE 7 and 8.
As you know users of Windows XP cannot install Internet Explorer 9 or higher, so every XP user is stuck using Internet Explorer 8 or install another browser.
But let's be honest for a moment, if you are running an old operating system chances are you don't really care about running an up-to-date browser either.
How can we fix this?
I see only one way to fix this properly. Microsoft should release the quite good Internet Explorer 10 for Windows XP (and Vista). Of course I don't know
if there are technical reasons which prevent this from ever happen but something tells me that there is some marketing involved.
If Microsoft will not do this (and somehow I doubt this) we will be supporting IE 7 and 8 for the years to come. And if you want to target
the big market that is china your in for a big surprise: IE 6 still holds 20% market share in china