Why are we still using Internet Explorer in the Enterprise world?

Yeah! Most of us have felt it at some point (or maybe everyday) that we should have some other browser in use at work, and not the one that is the butt of almost every browser-related joke we see on the net. And we all have our own preferences, and reasons for justifying them, in what that other browser should be. But what unites us all, is the negative feeling that we have against this one, which probably ranges from dislike to absolute hatred.

So.. Why? Here’s what I could find out.

The puzzle of ‘Upgrade now or sit tight?’

Corporate apps, that are essential to run businesses nowadays cost a lot of money. We of all people should know that, because we make many of those and that’s what we do to make money.  If these apps need an old version of IE (ovoIE) to run properly, the entrprises have 2 options: Upgrade the apps, or stick to that ovoIE. The latter is pretty clear, and the one that usually employees get to frustrate and puzzle them. But while the former seems an obvious thing to do, there are negatives for the enterprise to refrain from it as much as it can.

Why can’t they upgrade the apps? Two big reasons.

One, they cost a lot of money! You’re a company that produces chemicals, and you got some applications to manage your business and resources better. Now, after just 5 years, all these newversions/browsers have come and you’re not even sure if that app will work fine on them. If they don’t, you’ll have to spend more money (and huge amounts probably) and that is not even going to return any direct profits, just some convenience to the workforce. 🙂 “Let’s just stall it till we can, then. And focus on what brings in revenues.”

Two, upgrading the apps also would mean using newer technologies like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript etc. These are fantastic but the downside would be that they don’t work well (or at all, in most cases),  on those older versions of browsers. So you upgrade your apps and the browsers. Go for IE 9, the tolerable one, or 10, the one that seems alright, or 11, which is looking to compete with the best out there. Great! Just one thing though, these are not backward compatible. IE 9 works only on Windows Vista and newer, 10 needs Windows 7 at least, and 11…

IE 11 system requirements

IE 11 system requirements

All this asks for system upgrades. Hardware and latest OS (on every desk!). For the bigger corporations, that means massive investments and even though it isn’t something they can avoid forever, it makes sense to avoid this till it’s possible.

Oh wait! That’s all about the new and old versions of IE. Why IE?!

Microsoft. They offer the most robust enterprise deployment management tools of any browser vendor.  In simple words, corporations have IT policies and they need to control the browsers of the employees on their network to implement these, amongst various other things like security updates. Systems are administrated centrally by the IT teams for this reason in the corporations.

Mozilla has an Extended Support Release for organizations but they’re not even trying to match up the kind of control Microsoft can offer. Here is Asa Dotzler, one of the prominent contributors of Mozilla commenting on what their priorities are.

Asa Dotzler, a prominent Mozilla contributor stated that Enterprise has not been, and shouldn't be their priority.

Mozilla knows its priorities. Enterprise, is not high on that list.

Google is in this with Chrome for businesses, but it is just not there yet. They might be a strong competition in the near future though.

Add to this, the fact that these two rollout new versions every 6 weeks, which is nothing but a source of troubles and pains for those who manage these things. This post from Mike Kaply explains it really well. And this one if anyone is interested in knowing more about the pains of System administrators and IT Support.

So, the enterprises have their reasons for keeping us on IE, and… that’s why. 🙂