It seemed inevitable, but last week, we received confirmation that Microsoft would in fact be killing off Internet Explorer at some point. The death won't happen with Windows 10, however, as the browser is still relied-upon in the enterprise market. Given that, we might not even see it be retired in Windows 11 -- the enterprise world can move at a snail's pace when it comes to software upgrades.
Regardless of all that, what's been certain for a while is that Project Spartan would become the primary browser in Windows 10, sporting a brand-new Trident engine fork called EdgeHTML. While it was once believed that both browsers in Windows 10 would bundle in both the EdgeHTML and IE-based Trident engine, information divulged from Microsoft at a workshop last week confirmed that IE in Windows 10 would remain identical to the one in Windows 8.1.
What's not entirely clear is whether or not Spartan will in fact include both browser engines, though if I had to wager a guess, I think it will. It'd be easier to make the transition to Spartan if legacy applications in the enterprise don't break, although on the same token, that kind of interoperability might slow enterprises from upgrading their software to work with EdgeHTML (or any other browser engine). Microsoft won't want to let enterprises get too comfortable with the legacy mode when its ultimate desire is to get rid of IE and its Trident engine entirely.
It's almost surprising that we know so much about Spartan at this point but are still unable to access it as an end-user in the Windows 10 build. It was hoped that it would have been included in build 10041, but that isn't the case. With Windows 10 set to launch at some point in the summer, the next build is highly likely to include the browser.
Also surprising is the fact that Microsoft hasn't even given Spartan its final name yet. That kind of scares me -- it gives me the feeling that it'll be debated on for so long, it'll end up being a name we'll all criticize it for. Given Spartan is a rather cool name, Microsoft might just be safer in sticking to it.