Battle-Worn Internet Explorer Brand Faces Firing Squad

You can't look back and examine the history of Windows without also taking into account Internet Explorer, the browser that first debuted as a part of the "Plus! for Windows 95" add-on package nearly 20 years ago. By some counts, it's still the most used browser today, though beginning with Windows 10, Microsoft will introduce Windows users to a brand new browser.

We've already seen IE's successor in action under its codename Project Spartan. It's not yet finished, nor will Project Spartan be the final name when Windows 10 ships to consumers later this year -- Microsoft is still trying to figure out what to call it.

IE Plank
Internet Explorer prepares to walk the plank.

"We're now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10," Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela said at Microsoft Convergence yesterday. "We'll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we'll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing."

What you can extract from that is Microsoft won't outright retire Internet Explorer, as it will be needed in some enterprise circles for compatibility reasons. However, it won't be the one that most consumers use, nor will it be the focus of Microsoft going forward.

Not only is Project Spartan a new browser, it's also an opportunity for Microsoft to start fresh with a new brand, one that doesn't carry with it any of the negative connotations that IE might still have. Even though Microsoft has made strides in recent years, there's still the perception that IE is slow, bloated, clunky, and comparatively insecure, hence the desire for new branding.