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The Australian online retailer Kogan.com has introduced the world's first "tax" on Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser. Customers who use IE7 will have to pay an extra surcharge on online purchases made through the firm's site. Chief executive Ruslan Kogan told the BBC he wanted to recoup the time and costs involved in "rendering the website into a antique browser".The charge is set to 6.8% - 0.1% for every month since the IE7 launch.
Every month the surcharge will rise by 0.1%. Too much effort According to Mr Kogan the idea was born when the company started working on a site relaunch. Mr Kogan said that even though only 3% of his customers used the old version of the browser, his IT team had become pre-occupied with making adaptations to make pages display properly on IE 7."I was constantly on the line to my web team. The amount of work and effort involved in making our website look normal on IE7 equalled the combined time of designing for Chrome, Safari and Firefox."Mr Kogan said it was unlikely that anyone would actually pay the charges. His goal is to encourage users to download a more up-to-date version of Internet Explorer or a different browser.Mr Kogan told the BBC his customers were very happy and he had received a lot of praise for his efforts. "Love your IE7 tax. I hope it becomes effective" was one of the messages posted to Kogan on Twitter. IE7 was launched in 2006, but since then Microsoft has released two major updates to the software. The launch of Internet Explorer 10 is due in the autumn.
Sympathy for Kogan's Position Amongst Website MakersAs someone who isn't adverse to a little web coding myself, I have tremendous sympathy for Mr Kogan's stance on the subject.The last site that I created only had one page optimised for Internet Explorer. I created a link to it from the home-page, which explained to users of that browser why the site might look funny to them.The fact is that it can take three times as long to produce a website for IE, as it does 59 other browsers. I tested it. I timed it. I decided that life was too short to commit that energy, especially when I have no sympathy for those still utilising what I consider to be an inferior browser.I'm not alone in this sentiment. While geek sites like Techcrunch are downright gleeful in their reporting tone, support has been showering down upon Ruslan Kogan himself. Searching @ruslankogan on Twitter currently reveals a sea of congratulatory messages."You Sir are a hero," Tweets PatrickTaylorEdwards. Another message, this time from Eddies Football Blog, states, "If you are a web developer, or have ever worked on web projects, you will absolutely love this." He then links to a news story about it.They are just two examples. Pages of Tweets go on, all calling Ruslan Kogan a genius or otherwise applauding his actions. There is not a dissenting point of view amongst them.