In its prime, Internet Explorer was the world’s undisputed Internet browser king, a revolutionary portal that shaped the way most individuals accessed the world wide web. However, this week officially signaled the beginning of the end for the Internet Explorer era as Microsoft confirmed that it will be departing from the Internet Explorer brand and name when its new browser (codenamed “Project Spartan”) is released with the new Windows 10 this summer.
Though Internet Explorer still retains its title as the most popular browser in the world, mostly because of its pre-installation on Windows, years of shoddy development, shaky security, and poor performance functionality made the browser a popular target of mockery among tech-savvy web users, frustrated by its limitations. Over the past years, browser rivals Firefox and Google Chrome gained many of the disenchanted individuals that were fed up with Internet Explorer. Given Internet Explorer’s reputation and declining shares, the rebranding was a logical, if not overdue, step for the Seattle tech giant.
However, Internet Explorer will still exist in some versions of Windows 10, mostly for enterprise compatibility and legacy support, Microsoft also made it clear that the Project Spartan browser will be the primary way that most users will access the web on Windows 10.
While it is unclear what the new browser will be called or when Microsoft plans to unveil the name, the move signals a shift from trying (unsuccessfully) to repair the damaged Internet Explorer moniker to completely rebranding the Project Spartan program with a new title. Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Capossela confirmed that market research is still being done to choose a new brand name for the revamped browser, though many suspect that the new name will have some kind of integration with the Microsoft brand name too.
With a new browser expected to translate better to mobile devices, tablets and smartphones along with a Windows 10 that should be more seamless and efficient, it is clear that Microsoft plans to hit the ground running into summer of 2015. Microsoft also unveiled several features that will be included with the new Windows 10: Cortana – a personal web assistant, a personalized reading mode, a streamlined layout, and new annotation tools.
So although it will be some time before the general technology populace will be able to publicly access whatever the “Project Spartan” browser decides to call itself, this week’s event on the heels of Apple Event from last week that Microsoft intends to remain a competitor in the technology market. Overall, the Windows 10 event was a welcome departure from typical announcements where speakers stand and recite contrived jargon (“enterprise” “cloud” “legacy”). It is clear Microsoft plans on developing software and platforms that can shape the way we interact and integrate technology – and that’s a good thing for everyone involved.
While few will miss Internet Explorer, the mere fact that Microsoft is able to admit that the brand was beyond saving and willing to head in a new direction already indicates that the future still remains bright for both tech consumers and Microsoft.
Though it will take time to see if Project Spartan can recapture the loyalty of frustrated IE users or if it is indeed the “browser of the future” that Microsoft promises, retiring the Internet Explorer brand will definitely provide both parties what each of them probably needs the most: A fresh start.
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