Did you know that your web browsing habits have an effect on finances? Here we take a look at the economics behind browsing a website.
Web Browsing Economics: Internet Explorer
Two weeks ago Australian retailer Kogan made the news when they chose to impose an “IE7 tax”. Obviously this is a misnomer. It is really a fee, but you get the general idea. The retailer is discouraging users on older browsers by making them pay more. This may seem extreme, but discouraging older browsers is not unheard of.
Internet Explorer has a bad reputation with web developers. IE6 was a very buggy browser. Sadly it had a high market share for a long time. It contained many security vulnerabilities that often resulted in viruses. Microsoft developed IE7 as a response to Firefox and was trying to decrease support calls.
Microsoft saw savings by encouraging users to upgrade their browser. After a single year they saw a 10-20% drop in support calls from the improved security features in IE7. Microsoft has further encouraged users to upgrade their browsers by creating the IE6 countdown website. Usage in the US has dropped below 1%. Usage has dropped to 6.3% for the entire world. China is the only major holdout still clinging to IE6.
Google was the first major company to announce that they cannot deliver a quality experience to older browsers. They will only support the most recent version of a web browser and one version back. Google discontinued support for IE7. They believe it is not cost-effective for them to offer a comparable experience to older browsers. They believe doing so limits their ability to deliver a high quality web browsing experience. Modern browsers allow them the ability to innovate and grow their brand.
Web Browsing Economics: Operating System Choice
The Wall Street Journal revealed that Orbitz is testing a new program where it will show more expensive hotel offers to OS X users. They are not different prices for Mac and PC users. Orbitz is sorting the results differently based off of statistical information from their users. They found that Mac users tended to stay in pricier hotels. They also stay in pricier rooms. They are making life easier for users that earn them the most money. This is no different from RadioShack’s initiative to encourage Foursquare users because they spent the most money in their establishment.
Orbitz was not the first to make this observation. Olswang discovered that iPhone users were spend money for a digital movie than other users. This is not surprising. Studies have found that iPhone users are more likely to pay for apps than Android or BlackBerry users.
Apple has created a user-base that is willing to spend more money while web browsing. Smart companies covet these users. They are capitalizing on this knowledge of web browsing behavior and use it to their advantage.
Windows XP and Vista
Windows XP will soon be three major versions behind Windows 8. It is over 10 years old. Users have older, less powerful hardware. Modern web browsers count on hardware acceleration to delivery a quality web browsing experience. It is impossible for vendors to support older operating systems. Microsoft does not support IE9 on XP. They will not offer IE10 to Vista users. They said that IE10 will be available for Windows 7 but the lack of preview builds has web developers worried that IE10 will only run on Windows 8. Mozilla does not support Firefox versions above 12 on XP before Service Pack 3.
How do you browse the web? Do you use a modern system? Do you notice a difference when you’re on an older computer? Do you use an iPhone? Or you on OS X? Let us know.