Electronics hawker Ruslan Kogan over in Australia has decided to tack on an additional 6.8-percent tax on all goods purchased through the venerable Internet Explorer 7 (IE7).
According to Kogan, customers visiting the website with the old browser will receive a popup window first, warning of the tax and suggesting that they use a better browser to avoid the additional fee. Funds collected through the tax will be used to maintain the IE7-friendly version, he said.
"It appears you or your system administrator has been in a coma for over 5 years and you are still using IE7," reads the popup notification. "To help make the Internet a better place, you will be charged a 6.8-percent tax on your purchase from Kogan.com. This is necessary due to the amount of time required to make web pages appear correctly in IE7."
According to StatCounter, IE7 ranks at #12 in the list of Top 12 Browser Versions from December 2011 to May 2012, commanding only 2.99-percent of the worldwide market share. The browser trails behind other bottom-feeders like Firefox 3.6 (3.25-percent), Safari 5.1 (3.3-percent) and Firefox 9.0 (3.64-percent). Many web surfers still use Firefox 8.0 (4.07-percent) whereas the majority still rely on Internet Explorer 8 (17.82).
IE7 was released by Microsoft in 2006, and was the first major update to the Internet Explorer browser series in five years. By default, it was shipped within Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, but was provided as an upgrade for Internet Explorer 6 in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Given the browser's age, it's understandable why Kogan doesn't want to maintain compatibility without a fee. What's curious is that the browser's market share is so minute compared to IE8 and IE9, yet supporting the older browser seems to come with a huge cost for the online retailer.
"Internet Explorer 7 has long since passed its use-by date," he told The Register. "It's a constant source of frustration for our web guys and we're sick of burning cash on a browser that hit the market nearly six years ago. It's not only costing us a huge amount, it's affecting any business with an online presence, and costing the internet economy millions of dollars."
Kogan said that he is very fond of cutting "unnecessary costs out of its business model," and IE7 falls into that category. Will other sites follow his lead and force customers to use a newer, more compatible browser? We're sure Microsoft would love that immensely.