I thought I was beyond being surprised by the depths to which Microsoft will stoop to gain a user. Sadly this week has proved that I am not and I viewed the latest attempts from Redmond to woo users to the newly minted Internet Explorer 8.

The strategy this time is to offer the chance to win $10,000 to those prepared to use Internet Explorer 8 to pinpoint clues which reveal the location of the cash.

Nothing wrong with that so far if you’re prepared to be bought but where the promotional campaign took a distasteful turn was in the phraseology used to those visitors using a browser other than Internet Explorer 8.

How is telling potential users to “… get rid of it, or get lost.” likely to charm them into using IE8?

Visiting with Safari resulted in:

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (Safari version)

Firefox visitors don’t fair much better:

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (Firefox version)

Visiting via Opera? They don’t even bother to refer to your browser by name!

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (Opera version)

No concessions for older versions of IE either but at least those users don’t get told to “get lost”.

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (IE6 version)

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (IE7 version)

However, if there are any remaining users of IE for the Mac they don’t get treated so well and are indeed told to get lost.

Microsoft Ten Grand Browser Advert (IE Mac version)

Not satisfied with leaving it there Microsoft then produced a broswer comparision chart. They limited themselves to comparing IE8 with only Firefox and Chrome but this didn’t stop Wired Magazine from filling out on the “facts” Microsoft provided in said chart, very amusingly. Soon others where taking the initiative and making their own amendments to said comparison chart including Kilian Valkhof.

This sort of negative approach is so old hat that Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves. Competition between browser creators is good for the users but only when the competition results in the creation of better browsers and a better browsing experience.

Negative promotions like this do not move us forward. If Microsoft want to entice more users here’s a radical idea … make a better product.