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Internet Explorer IQ study was a hoax

August 3, 2011 |  2:43 pm

Microsoft A study that suggested Internet Explorer users were not as smart as those using other Web browsers is apparently a fake, according to the person that initially distributed it.

In a statement on its website, Aptiquant said it "was set up in late July 2011 by comparison shopping website AtCheap.com in order to launch a fake ‘study’.... The main purpose behind this hoax was to create awareness about the incompatibilities of IE6, and not to insult or hurt anyone.”

The company, Aptiquant, doesn't exist, according to a separate statement on its website.

A man identifying himself as the owner of Atcheap.com said he was behind the hoax. "It was just a joke, and I didn’t really mean to insult anybody," he said.

On Wednesday, BBC reported that images of the company’s staff were copied from another website: “Thumbnail images of the firm's staff on the website also matched those on the site of French research company Central Test, although many of the names had been changed,” the BBC said.

The BBC said readers raised questions regarding the study, and the news organization had a security consultant inspect source material after questions arose. "It's obviously very easy to create a bogus site like this -- as all phishers know it's easy to rip off someone else's web pages and pictures," Graham Cluley, a senior security consultant at Sophos, told BBC.

The study was widely reported by numerous media outlets, including this one.

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-- Andrew Khouri

Photo: Sixteen aerialists perform as a live human billboard for Microsoft's logo. Credit: Keith Bedford/EPA

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