March 30, 2015

Who Are The 11% of People Using Internet Explorer 7 (And Why?)

Windows Internet Explorer 7

Windows Internet Explorer was released in 2006. In technology years, that is like 35 years ago. Why would anyone still be hanging onto that dinosaur, especially when browsers can be upgraded for free online?

As I’m playing around with the CSS coding that I’m learning for fun, I notice that a tremendous amount of effort has to be put in place to make sites display correctly in Internet Explorer version 7.  “Surely,” I think to myself as I pull up the server logs for this blog, “no one actually uses technology that old!”.

Alas, more than 10% of the viewership (almost 11% to be precise), utilize Internet Explorer 7 as their browser of choice.  And it isn’t just the blog.  I checked the server logs at the online retailers, too.  Almost identical figures were reported.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a lesson in opportunity cost and time management.  I am not going to learn those tricks because the time necessary to worry about them, especially when they are a “waisting” problem that will decay with time as people upgrade their computers, isn’t worth the potential payoff.

This means that any design I created would be unreadable to 11% of my audience.  That is, to borrow a phrase, too damn bad.  It takes only a few minutes to install the most recent version of your preferred browser, all of which are free.  It is absurd that human talent, brainpower, and billable hours are waisted trying to appeal to the laggards.

There is, of course, the notable fact that I don’t actually have to code CSS for a living since I’m an investor.  I’m just learning it for kicks and to keep my skills from the early startup days up-to-date.  It’s the same reason I still practice Bach from time to time and Aaron can prepare Julia Child recipes from memory.  Life is about progress and skill sets.  “The Sims” isn’t far off with the whole “Cooking Master Level 5″ paradigm.  Unfortunately, in the real world, there aren’t easy-to-measure progressions of payoff.

The funny thing about this whole endeavor is, I find myself getting just as joyous about learning new CSS techniques as I do about finding a great, undervalued company.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I just like building things that are excellent, watching them grow, and seeing them become more powerful.  Even when I play video games, I’m one of those guys who obsessively levels-up his characters.  I just can’t help myself.  Maybe that is how I live my life – I level up my portfolio until it gets bigger and bigger, my businesses, my standard of living, my skill sets, etc.

  • Joe Woody

    Ugh, the amount of extra coding needed for IE7 literally derailed some projects during my life as a web editor. A lot of that could have been prevented if Microsoft got their head out of the sand earlier.

    • king1060

      Josh, I can tell you exactly why people are still on IE7 (because I’m one of them).

      Nearly 100% of the time I read your blog, I’m at work, and my work is still on IE7. The company is a $2 billion company and it’s not that we’re cheap, it’s that some of our accounting and other software is old and only compatible with IE7.

      Clearly, it’s annoying not being able to read a handful of web pages, but since most of my internet usage is at work during lunch and before/after I start my work day, I’m at the mercy of them!

      • Elisabeth

        Ha, I was just going to express that! In addition, we are prohibited from doing updates ourselves.

      • Austin H

        I work at a 75B company and I’m handcuffed to IE6. It’s pathetic and, on numerous occassions, has prevented me from actually doing my job because of the lack of compatability with certain websites. I also frequent your site while at the office. I don’t have IE on my home computer.

      • Joshua Kennon

        Thanks everyone! That makes perfect sense … and another reason I love the feedback from the blog. There are days I learn just as much from you guys as (I hope) you learn from me!

      • peterpatch

        I also concur, I use IE strictly when I have to which is at work. The place I work it is a very old technology company , a household name. IE is not the worst offender. I have to do a large majority of my work through an AS/400 terminal app because our core system was written in COBOL at some point in the cretaceous period. I have been told that it is too expensive and difficult to change systems because the old system is too “deep”. At the same time they will borrow approx 1/3 of their enterprise value in order to acquire an unrelated company so as to keep up with the competition’s acquisition binge. End of rant.