Australian Retailer Imposes IE7 Browser Tax

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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‘Antique browser’ users will pay a 6.8 percent tax unless they upgrade or switch

Australian retailer Kogan.com is set to charge users of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) an additional 6.8 percent on  everything they buy from its website.

Users and administrators have long been urged to upgrade their browsers in order to take advantage of new features and security updates, but it appears some are willing to take a more vigilante approach.

Tax evasion possible

Internet Explorer is the most popular browser in the world, and despite being superseded by a number of versions, it was reported in December last year, that some five percent of the market is still using IE7.

“It appears you or your system administrator has been in a coma for over 5 years and you are still using IE7,” users of IE7 are prompted when accessing the site. “To make the Internet a better place, you will be charged a 6.8% 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.” It also provides links to other “better browsers” such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Opera.

“Today at Kogan we’ve implemented the world’s first Internet Explorer 7 Tax,” Kogan said in a blog post. “The new 6.8% tax comes into effect today on all products purchased from Kogan.com by anyone still insistent on using the antique browser.”

“But don’t worry, unlike other taxes, we’re making it easy to get around this one with a simple upgrade away from IE7,” it adds.

Kogan justifies the tax by saying that its web team has to spend a lot of time making sure that Internet Explorer 7 displays its website correctly. It calls it a drain on resources and threatens its ability to offer low prices for its products. The 6.8 percent surcharge represents 0.1 percent for every month that IE7 has been on the market.

The retailer admits that doing this isn’t costing them a huge amount (and is unlikely to bring in a lot of tax revenue), but the persistence of IE7 is affecting any business with an online presence and costing the Internet economy millions.

“As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit,” said Kogan. “This will help us increase our efficiency, help keep prices for all smart shoppers down, and hopefully help eradicate the world of the pain in the rear that is IE7!”

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