Web applications that break depending on your browser are nothing new. When Microsoft’s browser was more dominant, the experience was based on an us-or-them mentality of web application development. Things have thankfully progressed where breakages are more a question of which browsers have adopted the latest whiz bang feature from the HTML4, CSS3 or related specifications. The hope is that eventually all the browsers will catch up yielding an unending flowering of rich web applications.
This Slashdot story discusses an entirely different sort of discrimination based on which browser you use: different loan rates.
I tried to use their little payment calculator but the flash based widget wouldn’t work properly in the Firefox Beta so I loaded up Safari to try and funny enough the rate offered was 2.7%. I checked in Chrome and Opera to see if it was maybe just something wrong with the Firefox beta and Chrome’s rate was 2.3% while Opera’s was 3.1%.
I have to wonder what the rate would be for an Internet Explorer user, if the reasoning here is based on some sense of financial risk as correlated to empirical security data. I also have to wonder at the wisdom of this practice given how trivial it is to spoof user agents and, failing that, to simply run multiple browsers. Granted, most users probably won’t bother but if more evidence emerges that this kind of discrimination is not uncommon, who knows? Maybe that will prompt discrimination on more ingrained technology choices like operating system. That would just make the religious wars over computer platforms that much more unbearable.