During an "Ask Me Anything" chat session at Reddit yesterday, Internet Explorer's developers took to answering a bunch of questions from their adoring fans. Well - "adoring" might not be the best word. Judging by the thread's title, "We build Internet Explorer. I know, right?", it's almost like the developers knew that a can of worms was about to be opened.
While the Reddit thread contained its expected share of haters and trolls, a couple of great questions were asked, such as the one from user asianorange, "How you ever consider rebranding and changing the name of Internet Explorer?"
The response might strike some as a little surprising: "It's been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it. Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today."
User codecracker25 then followed-up with a question of why a name change never actually happened, given the discussions. The devs then responded, "The discussion I recall seeing was a very recent one (just a few weeks ago). Who knows what the future holds :)
Windows XP shipped with what would become the most infamous Web browser ever: IE 6
If a name change is something that Microsoft has discussed in the past, and has once again in the past month, it does lead me to believe that it's something that's fairly likely to happen. As it is today, Internet Explorer isn't a "bad" browser - a lot of work has gone into the software in recent years to make sure that's now the case. Given its momentum, it could even be a serious contender in the years ahead.
But to a lot of people, that simply doesn't matter. IE is still a laughing stock, and most well-versed Windows users wouldn't ever think of using it. It seems that most who do aren't the type to go search around for alternatives, or simply stick with it because it works for them. Why change if it works for you?
I personally think renaming the browser would be a smart thing for Microsoft to do, but it's obvious that it's a decision that can't come lightly. IE is a very integral name within the Windows brand, so to completely replace that name would be nothing short of major. It'd be almost as major as Microsoft renaming Windows itself.
What do you guys think? Should Microsoft suck-it-up and try to make people forget about the past by making Internet Explorer the best it can be? Or should it take the easy way out and rename it?
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