Microsoft has recently announced that, as of 2012, Windows PC users will start being automatically upgraded to the most up-to-date versions of Internet Explorer available to them; Windows XP users who are still on IE6 or IE7 will be updated to IE8, whilst Windows Vista or Windows 7 users running IE7 or IE8 will be pushed to IE9.
After years of trying to wean the world off IE6, it looks like Microsoft will finally be able to ensure that as many users as possible are benefiting from the increased security and enhanced functionality offered by later versions, without them having to make the move themselves.
Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley has pointed out, however, that an opt-out has had to be put in place for those people, primarily IT admins and business users, who wish to remain on IE6. And why is it that these organisations can't keep up with the pace of change, while the world around them does? Largely, web application incompatibility.
As Chris Jackson, The App Compat Guy, mentioned to Greg Lambert, CTA of ChangeBASE, now part of Quest Software, many organisations are finding themselves tied to an out-dated and inadequate IE6 environment by critical websites & web-based applications which may not be incompatible with a newer browser. Many companies simply don't know the impact that such an update would have, and testing them all is a costly and time-consuming job for even the most advanced of teams - one ChangeBASE client estimated that testing their 1200 web applications spread over nine countries would have taken a whopping 3000 man days, and approximately 1.5 million euros. Making such a move blind is simply not an option.
Organisations in this position have two options. The first is to remain on IE6 - your organisation's internal functionality remains intact, as it always has been, and business continues as normal. Normal, that is, for everyone apart from all your customers who want to engage with your website using their shiny new IE8/9 updates; those who are met with ill-presented, unprofessional-looking web pages, and those who want to buy online but can't complete transactions.
Option two is to find out exactly how an upgrade to IE8/9 will affect your organisation, identify the problems you're likely to face, and deal with them. This is where the award-winning ChangeBASE Browse-It solution comes in, automatically testing the compatibility of websites, intranets, extranets, portals and web-based applications for compatibility with IE7, 8 & 9, and quickly reporting back on the problems that will need to be resolved. No more stagnating in IE6, no more compromised functionality in newer versions. Simple.
For more information on Quest's ChangeBASE browser solution, and video demonstrations, and please visit the product page.