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Microsoft extends IE 8 charity offer

Software maker says program that donates food to the hungry when people download IE 8 will run through September. However, it appears Microsoft is not hiking its maximum donation.

Artists put the finishing touches on a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge constructed from soup cans. The June stunt was aimed at drawing awareness to Microsoft's Browser for the Better campaign, in which the software maker is donating to a food bank for each download of Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft

Microsoft is extending a promotion that is designed to spur downloads of Internet Explorer 8 with the promise of donating food to the hungry.

The "Browser for the Better" effort kicked off in June. Under the plan, Microsoft was donating $1.15 in food for each download completed through the program's Web site, up to a maximum of $1 million.

The program was slated to end early this month. However, Microsoft never took the site down and announced formally last week that it is extending the promotion through the end of September.

Microsoft declined to say how many downloads the promotion has received, but the site's Web site reflects the updated deadline and still says that Microsoft will donate a maximum of $1 million.

Besides extending the deadline, the software maker is making one other change to the program--doubling the donation per download (to $2.30) for those who are moving from IE 6. Microsoft has said it would like to persuade more users to move off IE 6, but must nonetheless support those who choose to remain with the years-old browser.

According to Net Applications, IE 6 has 27 percent of the global browser market, as compared with 23 percent for IE 7 and more than 12 percent for IE 8. Various versions of Firefox account for 22 percent of the market, while Apple's Safari holds 4 percent market share.

The Browser for the Better push is just one of many ways that Microsoft is promoting IE 8, including a promotion with Nickleback as well as the boring-but-effective methods of pushing it out through Microsoft's automatic updating mechanisms.

Firefox launched the latest update to its browser, Firefox 3.5, in June.