Microsoft on Thursday started featuring a small advertisement on its Bing home page for Internet Explorer 8 in an apparent effort to encourage more people to migrate to the latest version of its browser.
People using other browsers, such as Mozilla's Firefox or earlier versions of Internet Explorer, see the ad. Some users of Apple's Safari browser aren't seeing it.
With the launch of Bing, Microsoft came up with the unique concept of displaying a new photograph on the home page each day, but it also generally followed Google's precedent of an otherwise sparse page. The Bing site features the search bar and a few links along the outer edges of the page.
Now, it also features a small link in the right corner of the photo that says: "Fast. Easy. Get Internet Explorer 8." The link goes to a page that presents IE8 as optimized for Bing and MSN and lets people download the browser.
Bing users can scroll through past photographs that appeared on the home page, and doing so now includes the ad overlaid on the previous photos.
Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment about its strategy for ads on the Bing home page. But on Wednesday, it said in a blog post that it planned to continue to encourage people to upgrade from IE6 to IE8. IE6, the widely used browser released in 2001, is notorious for security holes and incompatibility with some Web standards.
"Over the past several months, you have seen us talk about some of the ways we're helping customers get off IE6 and onto IE8 and soon IE9, coming in beta in just a few weeks," Ryan Gavin, senior director of Microsoft's Internet Explorer business and marketing, wrote in the blog post. "From our work with enterprise customers, to consumer campaigns like adios IE6 and spoiled milk, to joining the fun at the IE6 Funeral -- these efforts will continue."
The blog post followed Net Applications' release of browser market share figures for August, showing that IE 8 continues to grow its market share while IE 6's share continues to drop. Overall, however, market share for Internet Explorer was down slightly, according to the report.