Microsoft is building a new web browser for Windows 10. It’s code-named Spartan, but eventually it will be called something else.

What it won’t be called is Internet Explorer. While Windows 10 will ship with both Spartan and Internet Explorer so that enterprise users and others can continue to use the legacy web browser, Microsoft has confirmed that eventually the plan is to phase out IE and the IE name.

But is it too little too late? Will you be more likely to use the default web browser that comes with Windows just because it’s not Internet Explorer?


Once upon a time, Internet Explorer was the most popular web browser in the world… because it was the one that probably came with your computer (if you didn’t buy a Mac).

In fact, that situation led the US government to file an antitrust case against Microsoft in 2001.

But over the past decade alternative web browsers including Firefox and Chrome have grown in popularity and many folks continue to view Internet Explorer as clunky and outdated… even though recent versions of the browser are actually pretty nice.

So it makes sense for Microsoft to not only dumb the web browser for one that’s built from the ground up to work across platforms on phones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops… but also to dump the IE name and all the baggage that comes with it.

But I have to wonder whether fans of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or other browsers such as Pale Moon or Maxthon will be willing to give a new Microsoft web browser a fair shake.

[polldaddy poll=8733620]

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22 replies on “Would you use a Microsoft browser not called Internet Explorer?”

  1. I was using opera long before it became trendy to use something else, before Firefox even existed – back when browser development had otherwise stagnated. It amuses me that now ppl seem much more fanatical about browsers, when actually they’re all pretty good (I use mainly opera on windows, chrome on android, but sometimes ie).

    A common complaint seems to be about standards from web developers. Has Spartan improved in this area?

  2. I would use it if it were from Mozilla and called “Firefox”. Oh, wait…

  3. If Microsoft sells it as a light, fast browser (marketing terms) – not interested. If they focus on security, privacy, flexibility (review process add-ons) – I could see myself giving it a go. The latter option requires a fundamental shift in the way Microsoft does business…

  4. Ima try it out, but the bar is pretty high, and I just don’t think…

    Chrome, Mozilla, Opera, Pale Moon, Slimjet, Vivaldi…get in line.

    1. FIrefox is much better at customization than Chrome is. You can’t even have a frickin’ menu bar in Chrome. That’s absurd!

      1. I never found Firefox to be customizable the way I wanted it too. It’s just a personal preference, but I have had to take a lot more work to tamper with Firefox in personal experience than Chrome

  5. The Internet Explorer browser wasn’t a Microsoft product when it started out. If I’m not mistaken, it was the Mosaic browser from the University of Illinois, which Microsoft licensed. There may
    even have been a brouhaha over MS’s licensing of the browser. Microsoft did this
    because it was late to the browser game, as Netscape had the market share crown,
    and MS was caught flat-footed (it even admitted as much).

    The IE saga mirrors MS-DOS, which Bill Gates told IBM he had, when IBM
    came around to look for an OS after failing to make a deal with Gary Kildall’s
    (Intergalactic) Digital Research. After making a deal with IBM to deliver an
    OS he didn’t have, Gates went across town to Seattle Computer Products, which
    had an OS (SCP even advertised the OS in Byte magazine). As usual, Gates
    made a deal with SCP, but the deal left a lot to be desired (MS might not have told
    SCP it would license the DOS to IBM, and to PC makers). SCP later sued
    Microsoft (sounds familiar?) and got more money in the process.

    MS shenanigans also evolved around Drivespace, which a third party
    developed, and MS was later adjudicated $100 million in damages for
    copying the Drivespace’s developer code. MS went on the pretense of
    thinking about acquiring the Drivespace developer, and scuttlebutt has
    it that MS sent someone with a photographic memory to examine Drivespace
    code during the due diligence process, which code MS appropriated to make
    its own version for MS-DOS. Rather than pay the $100 million, MS bought
    the developer.

    Is it any wonder many people in the computer business don’t trust MS?

    If Spartan was a fully in-house Microsoft effort, it, not IE, is the real Microsoft browser.

  6. Maybe Microsoft could just fund the folks developing Vivaldi. With all the other high-quality, standards-compliant browsers out there now, it seems as though the days of trying to “own the internet” by having a standards-non-compliant browser with enormous marketshare are over. What advantage does MS really get out of having its own browser in 2015?

  7. I would consider using it if it offered good hardware acceleration, and had low resource usage.

  8. What are you on about? I use IE all the time! What else would I be downloading chrome with?

    1. I’ve used IE exactly Once – to download Firefox. To be fair, IE did work fine that one time.

  9. I feel like MS has been acting too much like a politician recently. Instead of making actual changes, they re-label things and call them changes. For example, in Win 8 metro the browser is called IE… but it is really a faster but limited proprietary browser (call it the pre-Spartan browser.) So introducing this “new” Spartan browser is just playing the name game. What is worse, on my Windows phone and in Win 8 Metro, the 3rd party choices for browsers are crippled due to MS restrictions. So although the MS versions are speedy, I am stuck with less robust options.

    Same with MS saying how Windows 10 will be a universal OS as opposed to Windows Phone and RT. Again, this is just semantics… since they eventual came out to say the actual OS on phones and small tablets would be different and limited in the apps you can run… they would just all be called Windows 10. This is both misleading and a big loss to the consumer- who would really benefit from having 1 device that can be used as phone/tablet/desktop depending on peripherals. Certainly the mobile hardware is powerful enough to support this, but MS put it out there as the future only to later admit it was a fallacy and just marketing jargon.

    1. It remains that mobile hardware is still not optimal for running a full desktop, especially in terms of storage and memory… not to mention the continued purveyance of budget devices with low configurations…

      It also remains that ARM still dominates mobile hardware and that eliminates any native support for legacy Windows apps…

      So there are practical considerations they still have to face that prevents them from simply blanket covering everything with the same version of the OS… Besides, it’s not like most people are pushing for the full desktop on mobile devices…

      While MS is serious with things like Universal apps, being able to sync all your data and settings, etc. across all devices… So not all just jargon…

    2. If it’s the same, what are the differences between the two browsers that will be shipping with windows 10?

  10. I kinda forgot that Microsoft do their own browser until recently when I had to do some web development (I’m not a web guy) and re-learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript.. The amount of hoops that still have to be jumped through to make sites work with IE, and the lack of functionality and compatibility is just shocking. I though we were past all that.
    Luckily it’s for a hobby site so I can release ignoring the IE and Opera Mobile users (~8%) in the first release.. I’ll add fixes later.

  11. The problem that Microsoft has, isn’t to do with branding at all. You could call the ‘new’ browser whatever you want but the issues that IE/Microsoft have still remain. The reason why Mozzilla/Google/Apple (At a push) have much better browsers is that they are built on open source rendering engines.

    If Microsoft still rolls with a proparitary rendering engine then it will never be able to keep up with the competition as the only developers that can make security patches/etc are the select few working within the IE developement team. Surely they’ve asked themselves what the issue is with the brand… Before anyone says it, yeah, IE9+ was improvements of previous IE iteractions but it’s far from the standards of others in the Browser competition.

    The well known phase “You can polish IE… But it’s still IE” springs to mind. 😉

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