Is it time to upgrade our browsers?


We're used to seeing irritating surcharges when we're shopping online. Unexpected sales taxes, inflated postage costs and spurious handling fees are an integral part of the shopping basket. But technology retailer Kogan has come up with a novel way to inflate costs – and, what's more, it's making a noise about it: a 6.8 per cent tax on anyone completing their purchase using Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). Anyone using the much-maligned browser is greeted with a pop-up window containing the following message: "It appears you or your system administrator has been in a coma for over five years..." along with recommendations for alternative browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Safari – that sidestep the tax.

The company head, Ruslan Kogan, is known for his publicity-grabbing announcements. Not long ago he offered free HDMI cables to anyone buying a telly from John Lewis or Currys as a protest against their cable pricing.

But he's making a good point. Web developers spend a lots of time ensuring that websites work in old browsers – particularly IE, which was renowned for its bugs and layout discrepancies. And many of us are upgrade-phobic – scolding, haranguing and gentle persuasion have no effect. But slap a £40 tax on a £600 purchase? Pass me that Chrome installer, pronto.