AptiQuant, a supposedly Vancouver-based psychometric consulting company, this week released a report that claimed to measure the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of Web browser. The company said it offered free online IQ tests to over 100,000 people and then plotted the average IQ scores based on the browser in which the test was taken.
Internet Explorer (IE) users scored lower than average on the IQ tests, while Chrome, Firefox and Safari users posted slighter higher scores. Users of Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame were top of the class.
In a formal statement, AptiQuant CEO Leonard Howard said the company first thought of doing the study when it was trying to add some new features to its website and found versions 6 and 7 of IE extremely difficult to work with — something not unusual given IE has long been criticised for its lack of compatibility with Web standards. Regardless, older versions of IE continue to be used by millions of people around the world.
It is unlikely, however, that the report, titled ‘Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage’ prompts CIOs to re-evaluate the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers.
The whole exercise has now been revealed as an elaborate hoax, no doubt to the relief of a group of IE users that had threatened AptiQuant with a lawsuit.