People with low IQ are more likely to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) while the smartest ones prefer Camino and Opera Web browsers, a new survey suggests.
AptiQuant, a Vancouver-based Web consulting company, reported that it had given over 100,000 participants an IQ test and monitored what Web browsers they used to take the test.
The results showed that those who used IE scored lower than average in the IQ test while those who used Safari, Chrome and Firefox, scored slightly higher than average.
The users of IE6, released in 2001, scored the lowest, at slightly above 80. The IQ scores have a "population mean" of 100.
The test takers with "exceptionally higher" IQ levels (above 120), surprisingly used Opera and the more obscure Camino browser, as well as IE with Chrome Frame (a plug-in designed to let users view emerging HTML 5 content).
According to the "psychometric consulting" firm, the study "showed a substantial relationship between an individual’s cognitive ability and their choice of web browser" and "the results were compared to a previous unreleased study of a similar nature undertaken in 2006."
"The average IQ score of the individuals using the then current version of IE was significantly higher than the individuals using the current version of IE now, implying that a lot of people with higher IQ are moving away from IE to other browsers," it said.
"Internet Explorer has traditionally been considered a pain in the back for web developers. Any IT company involved in web development will acknowledge the fact that millions of man hours are wasted each year to make otherwise perfectly functional websites work in Internet Explorer, because of its lack of compatibility with web standards. The continuous use of older versions of IE by millions of people around the world has often haunted web developers. This trend not only makes their job tougher, but has also pulled back innovation by at least a decade. But with the results of this study, IT companies worldwide will start to take a new look on the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers," AptiQuant said.
Open source browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome "are not only better in performance than IE, but offer better compatibility with W3C standards."
The firm was also harsh in its criticism of IE: "It is common knowledge, that Internet Explorer Versions to 6.0 to 8.0 are highly incompatible with modern web standards. In order to make websites work properly on these browsers, web developers have to spend a lot of unnecessary effort. This results in an extra financial strain on web projects, and has over the last decade cost
millions of man-hours to IT companies. Now that we have a statistical pattern on the continuous usage of incompatible browsers, better steps can be taken to eradicate this nuisance."
Not surprisingly, after being threatened by a lawsuit, AptiQuant began singing a different tune. "I just want to make it clear that the report released by my company did not suggest that if you use IE that means you have a low IQ, but what it really says is that if you have a low IQ then there are high chances that you use Internet Explorer," CEO Leonard Howard said.
AptiQuant's study is interesting but it has five big holes:
> The survey itself wasn't very scientific - the survey group wasn't scientifically selected and the people who took the test, did so voluntarily.
> According to StatCounter, 43 percent of Web browser users use IE. According to Net Applications, IE's market share in June was around 54 percent. In comparison, Firefox had a market share of around 22 percent while Chrome had a share of 13 percent. If AptiQuant's study is scientifically correct, it means half of the Internet population are dumb as IE users are dumb.
> According to AptiQuant, IE users aka. people with lower IQ are also resistive to change. "From the test results, it is a clear indication that individuals on the lower side of the IQ scale tend to resist a change/upgrade of their browsers," the firm said. Does that make Steve Jobs, who (almost) always is seen in a black turtleneck, dumb?
> What if someone uses Chrome, Opera and Firefox simultaneously? Does that make the user super-intelligent?
> Every Windows PC come with a default IE. Does that make all PC buyers dumb? And Mac buyers smart?
And, most importantly, does this study give me the right to call my boss dumb on his face (he uses IE8) or does that make me dumb?
In conclusion, the AptiQuant study looks more as if a cheap shot is being taken at Microsoft than telling scientific results.