Microsoft-bankrolled report argues for single-browser enterprises
'Unrealistic,' counters company that crafts browser management tools; 'hollow victory,' adds analyst
Computerworld - A Microsoft-commissioned report published last week said companies can save tens of thousands of dollars in support and development costs by standardizing on one browser.
Although the report, conducted by Forrester Research and paid for by Microsoft, never used the words "Internet Explorer," "Windows," "Chrome" or "Firefox," there was little doubt of its focus: Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).
"The study revealed that IT pros overwhelming prefer to standardize on the browser that ships with their desktop OS," Forrester said. IE, of course, is the browser bundled with Windows, the planet's most popular business desktop operating system.
According to surveys of 133 IT decision makers at North American enterprises, 96% of the companies have standardized on one browser for workers' PCs. But they're split over whether to support others.
Nearly half of the enterprises allowed employees to install an alternative alongside the company-standard browser. About a third of those refused to answer users' support questions about such browsers, while the remainder supported alternatives on a "best-effort" basis, Forrester said.
The relative lack of interest in non-standard browsers was driven by several fears, said Forrester, including a higher number of calls to the corporate help desk, more trouble patching and maintaining a wider range of software, and higher development costs of in-house Web apps that must run on multiple browsers.
A third of the companies that allow more than one browser estimated that doing so drove up costs by at least 20%. Some of that money was spent on Web app development, which they figured jumped 14% when multiple browsers were involved. Most of the estimated app creation cost increases came from security and patch management, and testing -- together nearly half the total -- while actual development accounted for just 5%.
Forrester may have been hesitant to name names in the report, but Microsoft certainly wasn't.
In a Dec. 13 blog post, Roger Capriotti, the director of IE marketing, leaned heavily on the report to tout 10 reasons why he thought IE10 -- the newest version that's bundled with Windows 8 and Windows RT, and is now in a preview stage for Windows 7 -- is best for business. In that blog, Capriotti used "Internet Explorer" 28 times as he cited its TCO (total cost of ownership) advantage.
The Forrester survey, said Capriotti, "Reveals business priorities that reaffirm Internet Explorer's choice as a great browser for business."
But what neither Forrester or Capriotti mentioned, said an analyst, was the BYOD, or "bring your own device," trend that's making company-controlled desktops and notebooks, and thus their browsers, less important as employee tools.
"It is accurate that most businesses stick to or certainly prefer to stick to one browser in terms of what they actually distribute or what their internal development teams focus on to limit their test matrix," acknowledged Al Hilwa of IDC, a research firm rival of Forrester. "However, the BYOD trend is making inroads [and] companies' control of the desktop may end up being a hollow victory in the long run as users bring in diverse devices with different browsers."
- Workarounds to purge search bar from Firefox's new tab page are available
- Mozilla ships Firefox 31, adds search to new tab page
- Microsoft's IE steps back from the brink of irrelevance
- Firefox falters, falls to record low in overall browser share
- Firefox risks user backlash by adding search box to new tab page
- Google unseats Microsoft as the U.S. browser powerhouse
- Safari, Chrome push to mask URLs
- Chrome on Windows champs at the 64-bit
- Google pulls trigger, cripples some Chrome add-ons
- Microsoft shoots to shorten Internet Explorer's long tail
- Capabilities You Need in an IP Address Management Solution A mismanaged IP space can cripple an otherwise healthy network. Take a moment to understand what you need in an enterprise-ready IPAM solution.
- IPv6 Fundamentals IPv6 is needed to sustain the growth of the Internet. The transition from IPv4 will require planning and likely some degree of support...
- 3G/4G Digital Signage Guide Today, the widespread availability of 3G and 4G cellular or wireless broadband networks enables digital signage to be deployed virtually anywhere.
- Enterprises in Motion: In-Vehicle Networks In a world where traditional tethers to the central office have all but vanished, enterprises that operate vehicle fleets require constant and dependable...
- Tips to Simplify Database Administration and Development Make your job easier while getting the most from the leading productivity tool for database professionals. Learn tips from Dell Software's Oracle® ACE,...
- E-Signature RFP Checklist Webcast If your organization is looking to adopt e-signatures, you may be overwhelmed by the number of providers that offer seemingly similar solutions. How... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!