Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 4 dropped within a week of each other, and now that the dust has settled, Internet users are finding that there are pieces of their daily lives that aren’t quite gelling with the new world order. For instance, certain programs just don’t play nice anymore. Firefox 4 refuses to load certain websites, and Microsoft has chosen to no longer support Windows XP in IE9
Don’t expect any sympathy from Microsoft about the fact that you can’t upgrade to IE9 without moving off of XP. IE9′s senior director, Ryan Gavin, has no patience for any complaints. “You simply can’t build on something that is 10 years ago,” he said. Who can blame him? (And also, I’m starting to feel like a maiden aunt at a family reunion. XP was released 10 years ago! How is that possible? They grow up so fast.)
Anyone who has been around an IT shop for even a matter of days knows this is nothing new: We’re constantly in a state of innovating our systems while cursed with foundation apps that no longer work with this program or that plug-in. In my last role, at least once a week, one of my team members would complain that the production management database was broken. Even though I haven’t worked tech support in years, I usually diagnosed the problem without even leaving my desk. “You installed Flash, didn’t you?” I’d say, and they would assure me that they did not break my seemingly draconian rule of never, ever, ever installing Adobe or Java updates — and yet, when we’d take a closer look, they magically had an updated version of Flash sitting on their desktops.
They’d blush and get quiet — to say more would reveal that they had been clearly trying to watch videos on YouTube. Hey, “Charlie bit my finger” is hilarious, and I dare anyone to watch it without cracking a smirk, but the simple fact was our ancient collaboration tool got jacked up when YouTube helpfully guided them to update their Flash software and that single mouse click brought their job performance to a screeching halt.
Operating systems aside, I wonder how many other processes broke when thousands of employees installed the Mozilla Firefox 4 or IE9 releases. Last week, SearchCIO-Midmarket.com editorial director Scot Petersen wrote in a post about IT innovation that the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ philosophy will eventually hurt your business,” and here we see that sentiment being demonstrated by those scrambling to deal with these browser upgrades. CIOs dealing with “broke and busted” this week are paying the price by being stuck with outdated tech or upgrading systems before they were ready.
If Microsoft is telling people that it’s time to move on from one of its biggest business products, perhaps CIOs should take this as a cue to look at their legacy apps and get transition plans in place before it’s too late. Otherwise, they’ll forever find themselves racing to keep up while dragging years of outdated technology behind them.
Are you in the middle of a headache caused by the Mozilla Firefox 4 or IE9 releases? Hit the comments and commiserate with the group.