LAST WEEK'S REPORT that Internet Explorer (IE) users are less than clever was a hoax, according to some digging done by the BBC.
The report, which we wish had been real and secretly think was reasonably accurate even if it wasn't true, claimed that out of 100,000 users polled those that used Microsoft's Internet Exploder web browsers had the lowest intelligence quotient (IQ) scores.
This might in fact be the case, but apparently the report and its quoted findings were hogwash.
The firm that produced the widely quoted report, Aptiquant described itself as "a world leader in the field of online psychometric testing", and its report seemed to spring out of nowhere with its claims. The INQUIRER reported on it, along with most of the rest of the internet press and the BBC itself.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 was found to be used by the dumbest people, with their average user IQ scores nudging just over 80 - a level at which they might struggle to operate a mouse - nevermind a woefully outdated piece of web browser software.
However, although we reckon that a real test would find the same thing, the research firm is more Aptican't than Aptiquant and appears to have 'borrowed' most of its web site from another firm.
That firm, an online pyschometric assessment provider called Central Test, has not officially commented, but it has linked to a report that calls the survey into question.
For now we can only speculate about who was behind this hoax, but The INQUIRER doesn't want to point any fingers, if only in order to keep our lawyers happy.
The BBC, we should add, appears to have removed its earlier story, where the report was taken as fact. A number of other publications have also come out with "I knew it!" comments after the fact, which makes this story a win-win for all of us in the IT industry press.
The thought of IE users struggling to use a mouse definitely was appealing, but aren't we all glad that we can sit back now and say "I told you so", even if no one did at the time? µ