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Microsoft: 'Using IE6 is like drinking 9-year-old milk'

Our cheesy chunky old product is very unhealthy. Bwulp

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Microsoft hopes the fear and shame associated with online fraud will elbow browser holdouts off Internet Explorer 6 and onto IE 8.

The company's Down Under operation has equated the risk of using IE6 to drinking a carton of rancid - and probably solid - nine-year-old milk. IE6 was released in 2001.

Microsoft Australia wants you to not just download IE8 - released last year - but also email it the name and contact details of people you know still using IE6 so it can send them some spoiled milk. IE6 is used by nearly 18 per cent of web surfers.

Microsoft Oz wrote on its site: "Enter your friend's details here and we'll send them some nine-year-old milk to show them the benefits of using an up-to-date product."

According to Microsoft's site here, one in eleven Australians will fall victim to online fraud this year, losing money or personal data.

Australians lost $36m in Nigerian email scams in 2008, while most victims of scams are too embarrassed to inform the police and half too ashamed to tell anyone, the world's largest software company said.

Microsoft has flagged up IE8 features missing in IE6 and IE7, features designed protect users. These include built-in cross-site script filters, anti-malware protection, and domain highlighting.

Fair enough, Microsoft, but you'd do well to target not just individuals but companies and governments that cling to IE6.

If Australia is anything like the US and Europe, politicians, branches of government and even theoretically forward looking tech giants such as Orange continue to use the horribly dated browser internally for their operations. They remain on IE6 because important applications work with it, and moving is seen as taking too much time, money, or effort.

Microsoft also took the opportunity to direct IE6 users away from Firefox 3, Safari 4, Chrome 2 and the Opera 10 beta, quoting NSS Labs research that claimed IE8 caught "socially engineered" malware 85 per cent of the time compared to 27 per cent, 21 per cent, seven per cent and one per cent for the competition.

That particular swipe comes as Microsoft's share of the browser market continues to drift southwards. It dipped below 60 per cent for the first time in more than a decade last month, as Firefox holds onto a quarter and Chrome continues to explode. That's despite the release of IE8.

This is Microsoft's latest push to get users off IE6 while pimping IE8, and it follows attempts by others to also push IE6 lovers into moving.

Two of Norway's largest newspapers plus local newspapers, search engines and ISPs, the Yellow Pages and other communities posted messages asking users to upgrade - an effort Microsoft was reported to have supported. ®

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