The empire, you might say, is striking back. Apparently sick of being the butt of countless jibes and jokes directed against its Internet Explorer browser, Microsoft has released an ad defending it, and ridiculing the nerds who hate all things IE.
The two-minute YouTube video takes place in a home office strewn with empty takeout containers and nerd tschokes including a lava lamp, an I Hate IE coffee mug and a Karaoke grand master certificate from a contest in 2008. Get the picture?
Our young nerd sits smugly at his computer posting snarky messages about IE –”IE Sucks4evUR!” and “IE only good for downloading other browsers.” But as he happily trolls along the Web he starts noticing other posts about IE 10 (the default browser for Windows 8) and they give him pause. “Gizmodo: IE10 is Fast, Fluid and Tons of Fun,” and “IE Implements HTML 6.” Now he’s looking a little uncertain, but keeps on typing “IE sucks.” And then he sees this: “IE Introduces New Karaoke Standard.” He grins and turns to look at his grand master award, and types “IE Sucks … Less.”
But there is a serious point to be made here. Internet Explorer used to be a terrible browser, klunky and alarmingly vulnerable to malware and other hacks. But that’s no longer the case. As I’ve written more than once, the three major browsers — Google’s Chome, Mozilla’s Firefox and IE — are all perfectly adequate. Each has particular features that might make you choose one over the other, but ultimately it’s a question of taste or corporate standardization policies.
Some people might think it’s unfair of Microsoft to pick on hapless nerds. It probably is, but so what? The ad is funny, makes a reasonable point and lets people know about a new product. If the nerds out there can’t take a joke, I say “Get a Life!”
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.