Seth Rosenblatt| Cnet

It is nearly impossible to hear the acronym “IE” in a workplace setting without somebody appending to it the word “sucks.” To be more genteel about it, older versions of Internet Explorer on corporate computers simply do not reflect the quality of modern browsers. So why does that massive corporation you work for make you use IE 8or older in the first place?

A complicated problem
Why you’re forced to do at least some work in slow, standards noncompliant, security risk-prone legacy versions of Internet Explorer comes down to your employer’s need to run corporate apps that sometimes were built more than 10 years ago. Back then, the apps were often built in ActiveX, a Microsoft programming framework that could get the job done a decade ago but now is horribly outdated.

“The needs of a large enterprise are much different than that of you or me on our personal computers. While the benefits of upgrading to a modern browser are numerous, we recognize that some organizations need to set their own upgrade pace,” Microsoft representative Blair Cook wrote in an e-mail to CNET today. While the point about enterprise needs being different from home consumer needs is true, it doesn’t change the fact that businesses are currently struggling poorly with the tension between upgrading apps, upgrading browsers, and upgrading hardware.

Large businesses need these apps to complete essential functions, but they can’t upgrade the apps to modern technology because that means, generally, switching to the same programming tools that power modern smartphone and Web apps: HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

And as anybody who has tried to load a Webmail client like Gmail in Internet Explorer 8 or older knows, HTML5 simply does not work in older versions of IE.

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