I keep an eye on what those guys at 37 Signals are up to. Basecamp is the most visible competitor to Huddle, they’re the Goliath to our David and, from a programmer’s perspective, they’ve been aided in their growth by the very public hype over Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is, when all is said and done, the reason that we poor Microsoft saps now get to play with shiny tech like the ASP.Net Model-View-Controller Framework. Thanks guys!.

Davide Calvo – our User eXperience guru

Davide Calvo – our UX guru

But, dudes… This feels like a victory for standards idealism (or laziness?) over pragmatism, I’m looking here at recent figures on browser adoption. I have IE6 at 26.5% and IE 7 at 27%. This is the first month ever that IE7’s figures have exceeded those for IE 6., and these figures are skewed toward the latest and greatest because the W3Cs audience is mostly web-techies.

We sell collaboration software. Huddle allows people to collaborate across company boundaries and despite geographic separation. 37 Signals are preventing 26.5% of the internet from collaborating with their software, making it less useful to fewer people. Thanks guys!

The argument in favour of obsoleting IE6 is a strong one (If you don’t wince when you hear phrases like “Conditional Comments” or “Holly Hack”, consider yourself lucky) but some of our best customers are large corporates who take a long time to upgrade software. Funnily enough, it’s precisely large corporates that have the greatest need for collaboration tools that work well across corporate and geographic borders.

The people who can gain the most from Huddle aren’t allowed to download and install IE 7. That would require a special exemption from the regional IT manager, signed in triplicate in the blood of their first-born. That’s WHY light-weight collaboration tools which need no installer work well for them.

While I appreciate the noble gesture by 37 Signals, and I’m sure they’ll be applauded for it by All Right Thinking Web Ninjas, I can’t see how this is a sensible decision for a collaboration business to make.

PS. I have been told that I should include pictures in my blog posts. This will break up the text, thereby increasing t3h st1ck1ness!!!! and furthering our w00t. I shall try very hard to keep them relevant.

Bob Gregory


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