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07/29/2011

Are Internet Explorer browsers less intelligent?

Ouch - this will not come as good news for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser team. A report from a Vancouver-based psychometric testing company says that IE browser users are a little more intellectually challenged than users of other browsers.

AptiQuant evaluated 100,000 people over four weeks to test out its theory that "individuals on the lower end of the IQ scale tend to keep using outdated versions of antique web browsers". They gave a basic IQ test to these users, and compared then to a similar study conducted in 2006. The results showed that IE users scored lower in intelligence on average than users of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. You can get the report here (PDF).

In 2006, IE users were considered just as smart as other browser users. "The comparison clearly suggests that more people on the higher side of IQ scale have moved away from Internet Explorer in the last 5 years," AptiQuant says.

This report raises two issues. Not only are smart users moving away from IE, but the less smart ones are sticking with it - and not upgrading. According to the firm, individuals with lower IQs tend not to bother upgrading their browsers. The older the version of IE that a person used in the AptiQuant survey, the lower the IQ. IE 6 users - the least smart, according to the survey - on average tested about 80% as smart as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari users. 

Older versions of IE tend to be less compatible with modern web standards, which requires a lot of work for web developers who want to serve these users. All in all, they're kind of a nuisance, and the web would be a far better place if they upgraded. The question is, as they do upgrade, which browser will they use?

One thing that the report didn't mention was the rising popularity of the Mac and OSX. Microsoft stopped producing IE for the Mac in 2003, and the Mac has gained a lot of traction since then.

Which browser is your favourite, or do you use more than one? 

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets

_____UPDATE_____

The 'ouch' is mine. It turns out that the story was a hoax! AptiQuant was created by a comparison shopping web site to highlight vulnerabilities in IE6 - and they duped us all. PC World, Mashable, CNN, and the BBC, all ran stories. Who's the dummy now?

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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