PR consultant Chris Budd has an interesting analysis of why the "IE users are stupid" story got such traction. Among his observations:
Reporters often don't have the time to contact other known, credible sources when they're dealing with an unknown "expert." In the case of this story, the time element was exacerbated by the natural sensationalism of the piece, the clear simplicity of the message and the catchiness of the narrative. Any reporter and editor worth his or her salt could see this is a story that would have a lot of immediate pick up. And in the age of "viral" sharing, if you don't get your story out first, your competition will.
For the record, though, just because this survey was bogus doesn't suddenly make using IE a smart thing to do. I know my InfoWorld colleague, Enterprise Windows blogger Peter Bruzzese, doesn't agree with me on this. Enterprise users are often stuck with IE, having married into the Microsoft family. Trying to break free of Redmond is little like trying to leave the Mafia. You can do it, but the process usually involves pallbearers.
Bruzzese says he uses IE by choice because Firefox crashed too often, and Chrome was only "nanoseconds faster" than IE. Whatever floats your boat, Pete. But I abandoned IE6 years ago because whenever I tried to open more than four browser windows at one time my system seized up like a quadruple-bypass patient eating a McFatty burger, and once IE got its grubby mitts on my system memory it never let go, no matter what I did.
With Firefox, on the other hand, I could open 10 browser sessions, no sweat. When Chrome came along I could open 20 and regain the memory each one was using when I closed them.
I tried other browsers. Safari for Windows crashed too often. Opera was too idiosyncratic for my tastes, and Flock sucked down memory like a wino gulps in Mad Dog 20-20. I also tried IE7, IE8, and IE9. Only the last one seems like a significant improvement, and that's only because Microsoft appears to have consciously imitated FF and Chrome in many respects.
Still, I'm the one who looks stupid here, and not IE users. My apologies to any readers who felt insulted by those posts.
OK, Microsoft fanboys, get it out of your system. Post your jibes below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "IE and me: Who looks stupid now?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.