Posted by: R. Emmett O'Ryan | August 8, 2011

And you thought the browser wars were over…

Update: Apparently the report from AptiQuant indicating “Internet Explorer users have a lower than average IQ” was bogus.

Here is our original BLOG Posting:

Just when you thought the browser wars were over came a report of a new study from the Consulting firm AptiQuant.  As reported in the BBC Technology section on August 1, “Internet Explorer users have a lower than average IQ.”  As you can imagine, this has gotten a number of users rather miffed and has become a heated topic of discussion around the coffee stations and baristas in the Silicon Valley.

According to the BBC article, “Researchers gave over 100,000 web surfers a free online IQ test. Scores were stored in a database along with each person’s web browser data. The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties. Chrome, Firefox and Safari rated over 100, while minority browsers Opera and Camino had an ‘exceptionally higher’ score of over 120.”

The article went on to say, “AptiQuant stressed that using IE doesn’t mean you have low intelligence. ‘What it really says is that if you have a low IQ then there are high chances that you use Internet Explorer,’ said AptiQuant CEO Leonard Howard.”

This article has created quite a stir in the workplace with the story’s link being emailed to and from tech colleagues within my own organization and outside of it.

I even found that I could not get away from this controversy at the local coffee barista.  While waiting in line for favourite afternoon beverage – a decaf, non-fat, Venti size Caffé Latte – I interrupted a rather heated and animated discussion between two engineers.  One engineer, a supporter of Chrome, complained that his company would not allow him to use anything but IE while the other engineer argued that IE was the way to go and the gold standard, and there was nothing better.

To help quell the rather loud discussion, I suggested that there was certainly room for multiple browsers in an enterprise and recommended to the first engineer that he request his local IT department to allow a choice of browsers.  His reply was that IE was a company standard and engineers were not permitted to install any other browsers (like Firefox, Chrome, etc).   I then suggested that he file a complaint with the HR department that the IT department was making Engineering look deficient because they were not allowed to use a browser that made them look smart.  Shaking his head, he smiled and off he went…

As for the second engineer, nothing but “daggers came out of his eyes”… I guess you can’t please everyone.

Update: On the morning of August 3, there was a further report from the BBC’s Technology section indicating that the report was bogus: Internet Explorer story was bogus.  The BBC article went on to say that a number of high profile news organizations had been duped by this report including the BBC, CNN, and others.  The buzz on several other blogs sites has a number of IE users threatening legal action – against who is unknown.


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