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Browsium, a Redmond company run by a team of former Microsoft managers, has developed a new tool that lets companies assign certain websites to specific browsers on user computers — making sure that older sites and apps open in browsers that support them, which often means older versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

The tool, called Browsium Catalyst, was released as a beta this week, and it’s set to debut officially early next year. It recognizes one of realities of the modern workplace: Corporate users often have multiple browsers installed on their machines, and they often open legacy sites required for work in a browser that renders the page improperly or insecurely.

Catalyst is a behind-the-scenes tool that IT administrators can use as a “traffic cop,” designating specific sites to open automatically in a specific browser. For example, even if Chrome is set as the default on a particular computer, companies might need to make sure that some sites and apps open in Internet Explorer 7 or a virtualized installation of IE6.

“We view this is as a way for IT administrators to buy some time until they figure out their remediation strategy for these legacy apps,” said Browsium president Gary Schare, who previously led the Internet Explorer product management team.

It works with Chrome 22 or later, Firefox 15 or later, and Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 and 9 on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The beta doesn’t support Windows 8 or Internet Explorer 10.

The company separately offers a technology called Browsium Ion that uses specialized settings and other tricks to let companies run legacy apps in newer versions of Internet Explorer.

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