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Unified Communications: Browsium's UniBrows Allows IE6 Business Apps to Run on Windows 7


March 15, 2011

Browsium, a Washington-based provider of enterprise-ready software solutions, has today released a product that completely eliminates the browser compatibility obstacle that has been heavily impeding the enterprise arena in its migration to Windows 7.

An innovative and lightweight browser add-on, Browsium’s UniBrows Version 1.0 solution has been designed to enable business applications based on Internet Explorer 6 to seamlessly run inside of Internet Explorer 8 – which is soon to be Internet Explorer 9.

As a simple, secure and highly compatible solution, UniBrows does not require a new infrastructure, the addition of servers, nor modification of code. Users can easily install the add-on onto their PCS, which should be running Windows 7 or XP with Internet Explorer 8, and effortlessly continue to operate all existing Internet Explorer 6-compatible business applications.

“Our mission is to let IT adopt new technologies, particular operating systems and browsers, without having to react to all the changes brought down by the Web app platform vendors,” said Gary Schare, president and COO of Browsium, who personally provided an informative overview and demonstration of the ground-breaking product to TMC. “We’re all about giving [a business] the tools to deal with the change so they can upgrade and take advantage of everything they need to run their business.”

Global IT currently faces a rather daunting problem: millions of Internet Explorer 6-based business applications are unable to streamline with Internet Explorer 8, thus stalling operating and browser system upgrades, and completely blocking enterprise PCs from migrating to Windows 7.

This, unfortunately, has led to a whopping majority (74 percent) of enterprise PCs finding themselves “stuck in a rock and a hard place,” as these organizations aren’t able to run Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP, can’t migrate to Windows 7, and are unable to adopt new technologies that don’t work in older browsers. In fact, as of July 2010, millions of companies are still running on Windows XP.

Schare recognized the need for a product that could immediately relieve companies of this issue. With a long career of product management with both Microsoft and Apple under his belt prior to joining Browsium in 2010, Schare had become familiar with both Microsoft’s stance as well as customers’ perspectives on this ongoing compatibility dilemma.  

According to Schare, Microsoft expected customers still running Internet Explorer 6 to update and remediate a line of business applications to Internet Explorer 8, of course, at their own expense – which could eventually amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, Microsoft suggested enterprises use virtualization options, such as MED-V or Windows XP mode, all the while placing strict restrictions on the types of third-party applications for virtualizing any versions of Internet Explorer.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to deliver new apps and services to users, customers were missing out on important upgrades as they were forced to consider rewriting apps – a time-consuming, impractical and very expensive method.

Schare, alongside Matthew Heller, Browsium’s founder and CEO, then created and brought UniBrows to fruition as a product delivering “unparalleled, side-by-side compatibility, literally tab-by-tab in the browser,” said Schare. With an approach that Browsium calls “Web application continuity,” users are guaranteed highly granular control for side-by-side compatibility, regardless of browser engine or configuration that is essential to each application.

“UniBrows eliminates all of the pain points for companies who are stuck on IE6, and would love to move to IE8 and Windows 7," said Heller in a statement. "UniBrows provides an immediate solution, allowing organizations to modernize their operating systems and browsers now, while they update legacy Web applications over time on their own schedules."

In a demonstration of the new product, Schare shared with TMC how the UniBrows add-on can be deployed with standard IT methods. Putting UniBrows to the test, Schare first pulled up a demo site in a browser as rendered by Internet Explorer 8, which showed broken links, a stopped ticker, inaccessible menus, and changed layout. Using the configuration manager, Schare then set a rule for that particular site to run the Internet Explorer 6 engine.

“We just carry [the Internet Explorer 6 profile] along and invoke it as needed if a certain condition is met,” said Schare during the demonstration.

With the new rule set, Schare was then successfully able to launch the same site on the Internet Explorer browser with working links, clickable menus and the appropriate page layout.

Available to business customers today, Tuesday, UniBrows is licensed on a yearly prescription. Prices can be found on the Browsium website, where a free 60-day evaluation kit is also available.


Tammy Wolf is a unified communications copy editor. She also writes articles for unified communications on a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.



Edited by Tammy Wolf




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