A Web and app designer has stolen a page out of Microsoft's own playbook in urging users to abandon three of the company's four newest browsers because Microsoft is "standing in the way" of progress.
Josef Richter, formerly a website designer who now works primarily on iPhone app design, registered a quartet of domains two years ago -- including theie8countdown.com -- just a day after Microsoft debuted its own Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) deathwatch at ie6countdown.com.
"It was an immediate idea when Microsoft launched their ****," said Richter in an email. "Everybody was super excited, but I was like, 'Nice try, but IE7, IE8 and IE9 are still **** compared to the WebKit browsers,' so I made this half-joke to get rid of all of their IE versions."
Microsoft launched its IE6 countdown March 4, 2011, to convince customers to give up the aged browser. "We bring you the next step in our mission to see IE6 gone for good," a company executive said when Microsoft announced the site.
The ie6countdown.com site hasn't accomplished its mission of pushing IE6's worldwide usage share below 1%. According to U.S. metrics firm Net Applications, IE6 accounted for 6.2% of all browsers used last month, more than half of the 11.4% when the website appeared.
Richter's sites resemble, but don't explicitly copy Microsoft's IE6 countdown. And unlike Microsoft, he relies on data from Irish analytics company StatCounter.
StatCounter and Net Applications use different methodologies to arrive at their estimates. StatCounter tallies page views, which it argues more accurately reflect "usage," while Net Applications counts daily unique visitors. The browser numbers from the metrics companies sometimes wildly conflict with each other.
That's quickly evident when looking at Richter's websites. His theie8countdown.com, for instance, claims that IE8 has a 10% global share. Net Applications, however, pegs IE8's usage share at 23%, or 10 percentage points higher any one version of Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox.
While Richter's theie7countdown.com claimed victory -- that IE7's share was less than 1% -- Net Applications put that browser's share at 2%.
Unlike other efforts to shove IE into its grave, Richter's motivation didn't stem from the general bitterness developers have for Microsoft's quirks, which require them to spend extra time tweaking their work to render sites with older browsers like IE6, IE7 and even IE8.
"It's not about the time itself, it's more about limiting the features available to users," Richter argued. "If there is a super-cool feature that is super-useful for users, but 20% of browsers don't use it, many companies [with websites or apps] just don't try to implement it at all, because they know at the very early stage that it would mean additional development [and] cost, hacky workarounds, making the app potentially unstable, and so on."