Imagine a major, modern global retail brand that could soon find itself incompatible with all new computers. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Ikea.

Anyone who has visited an Ikea superstore on a weekend will know how uncomfortable such an experiences can be. A victim of its own success and super products, shopping at Ikea can be a nightmare of bustling crowds and incredibly heavy long boxes. It's not always thus, but to many the word Ikea summons a deep feeling of shopping dread.

Previously Ikea allowed online shopping but you still had to go to your local store for pick up - no good unless you own a truck for many of its furniture items.

So imagine the joy when Ikea opened an online shop recently - one that actually took your order and delivered the items to your house. No more queues for the car park, store rage inside or strained muscles at the checkout.


Unfortunately, Ikea's system is - by its own Customer Service admission - incompatible with Windows Vista, Mac OS X "or that kind of stuff".

It apparently also won't work with the world's fastest-growing web browser, Firefox. That's over 17% of the UK Internet-using population out of Ikea's range immediately. In its native Sweden Firefox incompatibility rules out over a quarter of the population.

And - perhaps most amazing of all - I was told by a Customer Service representative that it often has problems with laptops.

Forget the jaw-dropping news that it's only for old desktop PCs, and think about this: Unless someone pulls their finger out, the Ikea Online Shop won't work with ANY new computers after the Windows XP cut-off date of June 30, 2007.

IKEA's vision is "to create a better everyday life for the many people". It will soon find out that "the many people" will quickly become "the few people" as its out-of-date system shuts out more and more of its customers - many of whom I'm sure won't be keen to go back to the out-of-town superstores again.

What's the Swedish for "nuts!"?