Relief: IE users not stupid after all

A research study that purported to suggest that IE users had lower IQs than users of other browsers now appears to have been bogus.

Updated at 3:47 p.m. PT: The author of this fine non-study has now come forward. He is Canadian-based Tarandeep Singh Gill and he told ReadWriteWeb that he is the founder of AtCheap.com. He said he was specifically targeting IE6. "While working on my latest Web site, IE6 compatibility was being a pain in the ass. So I thought of doing this, with a hope that this would knock off a few people from IE6," he said. It will be interesting to see who or what gets knocked off in the coming days.

Here at Technically Incorrect, we have a long-standing policy of being skeptical about research. It always seems to contain less information than meets the brain.

Sometimes, though, one cannot be skeptical enough.

Last week, I wrote about a piece of research from a psychometric consulting company called AptiQuant that purported to suggest that IE users had the lowest IQs of browser users in the world.

It purported to suggest that IE9 users were even less intelligent than IE8 users. And it purported to suggest that Opera users were the very smartest of all.

The original, now discredited, "study" Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Now the BBC, which took this research very seriously, says that there are severe doubts about its authenticity.

It seems that AptiQuant only registered its Web site a month ago and that the images of staff members posted there are those of a proper and decent business in Paris called Central Test-- a business that might, for all one knows, impose Internet Explorer on all its staff.

What is clear is that Central Test denies any link with AptiQuant. In a press release, the company said: "Central Test noticed the fraudulent use of its identity by AptiQuant, a Canadian company and deny any direct or indirect link with the above mentioned company."

Central Test also suggested that it is considering taking legal recourse against AptiQuant "or whoever is behind this."

The BBC asked security firm Sophos to see whether the AptiQuant site was set up to peddle malware, but this doesn't seem to have been the case.

It might well have been just a bunch of people who wanted to raise a large laugh about IE.

I feel confident that the people behind AptiQuant will shortly lift their heads above the parapet of anonymity and explain how they could have been so hurtful toward so many.

I also feel confident that Microsoft is already preparing an ad campaign for IE with the tagline: "Internet Explorer. It's smarter than you think."

 

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