Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!

This week sees Microsoft leave behind the IE7 which had lasted for two years, and announces the second beta of IE8, but does more effort need to be placed on getting users to actually upgrade, rather than adding another version number to the mix?

According to W3.org there are more or less the same amount of users toddling along with IE6 as there are IE7. IE6 is seven years old yesterday (27th) and still holds a market share of around 25% while IE7 holds 26%.

Firefox is steadily climbing up the browser tree holding 42%, and nearly all of those users are on the latest version (or there about). Why is this? Do Internet Explorer users not bother? Is it too complicated? Or is it even due to piracy? After all, if you have an illegal key, you won’t be able to upgrade. Let’s make a few points and ask some questions…

  1. Firefox is easy to update, IE is confusing?
    Which is 100% correct. Hell, Firefox is so easy to update it’s basically a couple of clicks. And there is even the option of auto-updating, which saves even more hassle.
    Internet Explorer is downloaded using Windows Update, which is frankly a pain. Updates should be notified in browser and warned that out of date software is potentially unsafe. I’m not saying IE’s update system is bad, but it is slightly confusing to use the Windows Update service.
  2. Internet Explorer has lazy users?
    This maybe because of the confusing update sequence or even due to a high number of Windows XP users. If people bothered replacing their IE with Safari, Opera or Firefox they are going to be bothered about updating a genuinely good brower. On the other hand, if they have not known anything but IE6 since they bought their computer why change?
  3. Piracy
    Windows Genuine Key checks come as standard with the system. It’s a great way of making sure only paying users get the software Microsoft develops. It does however mean that users with a pirate copy of IE6 won’t be able to download IE7 or IE8 without “hacks”. This may force the user to stick with IE6 (on Windows XP) or even download a competitors browser. I’m not condoning pircay in any way, but it’s definately a reason people are sticking to IE6.
  4. Microsoft is too corporate
    An issue that has plagued Microsoft for quite some years. IE should take a leaf out of other browsers books.
    Firefox’s SpreadFirefox.com is a brilliant example of community marketing. It’s a way of spreading the word through social networking, and it works, to great effect. Firefox is taking the battle to IE (and winning) while IE combats with forcing the browser with Windows. Ever seen anyone selling IE t-shirts? Didn’t think so. Then again, Mozilla has to get it’s money from somewhere…

Still want to stick to IE6? Maybe Microsoft need some sort of better marketing strategy to explain to users that upgrading is important to their security. Or maybe you should download Opera, Firefox or even Apples Safari. *shudder*

2 thoughts on “Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!”

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