Internal development costs of Web applications to work across varying browsers can be a hefty one, according to the newest studies coming out of Microsoft.
Forrester Consulting, a portion of the Forrester Research entity, surveyed 133 IT decisionmakers in over 50 North American firms for two months in late 2012. The respondents were told who was funding the study for full disclosure. The results were then published in the report titled, "The Business Case for Standardizing on a Single Modern Browser in the Enterprise."
According to the individuals surveyed, just one application cost is an extra $4,200 annually in order to support multi-browser capabilities. Across the span of a larger organization's use, that cost can easily balloon. The study estimated that companies developing nearly 100 Web applications can thus be prepared to pay nearly $400,00 annual cost tallies for each Web application. That is not a number even prominent companies would like to see.
Microsoft's position has been rather obvious regarding the issue. "Our recommendation is to standardize on a single browser, Internet Explorer," a Microsoft spokesperson stated by email. But the new numbers do not support the Microsoft stance. Perhaps for Microsoft the concept will work somewhat, but for other companies that is quite a tall order to place in the loss column.
In total ,51% of the individuals in the study reported that their organization enforced singlebrowser use, while 45% allowed employees to install browsers of their choice. Security tended to be the main reason to upgrade any chosen browser, according to a majority of respondents.
One company that assumes the world will embrace multiple-browser use is Browsium Inc. The company's Catalyst products now in beta form and was designed specifically to that end.
"With our Catalyst product, we stepped into the realm of multi-browser management, which is what Microsoft is talking about here," said Gary Schare, president and chief operating officer at Browsium, in a phone interview. "Their [Microsoft's] approach is that, 'Hey, multiple browsers can be expensive, so the best thing to do is don't have multiple browsers.' We see multiple browsers as inevitable, resulting in compatibility problems and security problems. And therefore, we built a tool to help gain control and better manage multiple browsers."
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