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I was wondering if anyone had some good reasons for why not to change browsers from IE

(

ie6: 7% market share

ie7: 7% market share

ie8: 16% market share

total: 30%

),

There's a lot of business that simply refuse to move away from IE to another browser of any sort, regardless of all the reasons that I myself coming from a geek-based background see as obvious no-brainers, (security, compliance, privacy, extensibility, open-source, ... etc ...), but I haven't seen a lot of reasons aside from April fools jokes for why to keep the thing.

Is there some sort of business intelligence I'm missing here for this decision? I'm not intended this as a troll post, but a legitimate attempt to understand the other side of things. I understand that browsers such as chrome do not support protocols such as NTLM authentication, and there are FF extensions for it, but the whole protocol on it's own is reasonably insecure as it is... Nor can I believe this to be a relevant reason for things being this way in 2010.

I acknowledge this question is on the border of subjective conversation and what super user is for, but I felt this the best of the overflows to ask on, and hope for some good input.

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1  
Removed the subjective tag from your question, see blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags why. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 9 '10 at 17:54
    
Thanks for letting me know @TomWij –  Incognito Aug 9 '10 at 17:58
    
Questions can indeed be closed for being subjective, but if people answer in an objective way as been done so far, I don't see any reason why it should be closed. :-) –  Tom Wijsman Aug 9 '10 at 18:03

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Many businesses have webapps left over from the pre-Firefox/Chrome days that were only seriously tested on IE5 and IE6. The cost of updating these apps is usually far above the benefit of switching to another browser.

This is also why many businesses use outdated versions of Office and Windows.

In short: compatibility with what was already done.

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Compatiblilty with what was already done, not with web standards. IE6 was awful for standards. –  Andrew Scagnelli Aug 9 '10 at 18:01
    
"Can't upgrade, I want it to say SARF GENERATOR in blink tags or you're fired." ;) +1 –  Incognito Aug 9 '10 at 18:53

Also fear and lethargy. Corporates I've worked for often clung on to things just because they were a known quantity; changing might mean support & training issues, having to research licensing, change computer loadsets etc. The reality is that a small amount of effort up front might save them a considerable amount of grief further down the road, but they won't take that first step unless someone at the right level pushes hard enough.

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I'll add ignorance to the list of reasons.
Maybe some people can't believe it, but here it goes: I was talking to one of the directors of a major pharmaceutical factory in my region and we were talking about Internet safety. I mentioned that most exploits are targeted towards IE because it's so popular and that Firefox has been stable for quite some time and that there was no reason why not to move to it. Now some perspective: Everyone and I mean everyone and again everyone in my motherland uses pirated software. Few years ago government started to push big businesses to start using legally licensed software for their use, but software used by individuals is almost always pirated. Back to story now: She said that it was indeed great and that she uses it at home and that it would be great if they could use it at factory too because they had problems with malware and IE. I asked her why they aren't using it and she responded something like "Well we can only use properly licensed software now."
It could be forgiven that she didn't know Firefox's license (she wasn't the IT director) but their IT department didn't read it also! They didn't even bother to read it or do any research on how to stop viruses from spreading! On the other hand, they could have been thinking about their job security when they decided to use IE only.

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There are basically two reasons businesses are slow to change: money and power.

Money: IE is there, employees are familiar with it, and it's been tested against the apps that matter to the business. Any change to that status-quo is going to cost something - time, effort, testing, training, etc, not to mention application changes that would be required to support more modern browser platforms. If you do a cost/benefit analysis, what are you going to be getting for this cost? Is it worth it? Obviously, to many businesses, it's not.

Power: IE settings can be centrally controlled. Other browsers, not so much. Most of these configuration settings are related to #1 (Money): preventing you from doing things that might waste company resources, compromise company security, etc.

Large companies seem to care for little other than the bottom line. If they could improve profitability by going back to green-screens for everyone, your PC would be gone tomorrow.

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As a side note, I love green screens. I've installed various apps to make my windows more like an AS-400 mainframe. As far as money is concerned, this sparks an interesting thought in my mind, do metrics actually exist to show the average time to re-train a user on a browser? –  Incognito Aug 9 '10 at 18:58
    
I'll admit to making my shell look to a green screen, but that's as far as I'll go. I'd really be interested in any stats - I've seen some users who still insist on double-clicking on links, so I imagine it would be hard to come up with an "average" cost. –  chris Aug 9 '10 at 19:07

Previous versions of internet Explorer are known to be insecure and don't conform to standards, they have improved on this area. Internet Explorer 8 is pretty secure and Internet Explorer 9 will even be more secure, they also tend to work towards standards more. The reasons you listed are reasons to stay with Internet Explorer, and people used to that browser and don't want other behavior don't have the need to switch either...

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We had a problem with a version of IE that could only be resolved by rolling back the version until MS got it right in the service packs. It was related to some legacy .NET software, it refused to work regardless of the settings in IE8.

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Is this meant as a comment on the question? I don't see how this answers the question. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 9 '10 at 18:00
    
@TomWij Maybe they were forced to use older version of IE because software they needed to do their work only worked with it. It's a good answer. –  AndrejaKo Aug 9 '10 at 18:13
    
Was there any testing with non-IE browsers? For example, the GDS used in the travel Industry "mySabre" is an IE-Only product, but it works faster under google chrome. –  Incognito Aug 9 '10 at 18:54
    
Ah, I see now, nevermind... :-) –  Tom Wijsman Aug 10 '10 at 10:30

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