The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has told staff it will shortly be upgrading their desktop browser from version 6 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) software to version 7.
The bank has been running on IE6 for a number of years as part of version 3 of its desktop standard operating environment (SOE). However, it emailed staff recently to let them know they could look forward to IE7 as part of SOEv4, which is to be rolled out progressively from March. CBA has about 38,000 staff in total.
IE7 is a more modern browser than IE6, introducing new features such as the tabbed browsing made popular in rival browsers like Firefox, an anti-phishing filter and enhanced support for web standards. Microsoft reworked a number of core areas for IE7's release — such as the rendering engine and the way the software handles security.
However, IE7 was released in October 2006 and has since been superceded by version 8 of the Microsoft browser, which was released in March 2009. Internet Explorer 9 is currently in development.
Although some might call the bank slow for only now deciding to upgrade the browser, it wouldn't be the only company still running on IE6. A report from May last year by research house Forrester found that 60 per cent of companies were still using IE6 as their main browser. 39 per cent were using IE7, while Firefox sat at 18.2 per cent.
It's understood the bank needed to test a plethora of applications for compatibility with IE7 before starting to roll out the upgrade — a common problem in certain sectors, such as in financial services and some areas of government.
The bank's new standard operating environment will be again based on Windows XP. In April 2009, the bank said it had examined Windows 7, but was yet to formally test what was then the beta version of the software. The final version of Windows 7 was released late last year.
One further upgrade to make it into the new SOE will be welcome in some of the bank's branches. It's understood a lack of modern broadband connections into some locations had made delivering online video based on Adobe Flash an issue. The bank had previously disabled the software in certain situations — such as if a branch was using an old ISDN connection for internet access.
However, it will now enable Flash across its operations following gradual network upgrades to bring the old connections up to speed.
A CommBank spokesperson said the bank had "nothing to announce" when asked to comment for this article.