Lots of people still use Microsoft’s Internet explorer, but if ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley is correct, the Redmond based company is already hard at work on a new lightweight browser named “Spartan” which will debut with Windows 10.
Foley says that according to her sources, Spartan is a new browser and definitely isn’t Internet Explorer. She also claims that it will be available with Windows 10, which isn’t that long away now. It seems that Microsoft is building a speedier browser in the vein of Chrome and Firefox, that will also have features such as plug-ins, but it could still use Internet Explorer’s rendering engine.
Internet Explorer has a bit of a checkered history, as it grew from no market share to huge numbers of users, after which it had a long, slow decline losing out to Firefox and more recently Google’s Chrome.
Here are the browser market share statistics in the US since January 2012:
And here are the European statistics:
It’s not absolutely certain whether the new browser will actually be Internet Explorer 12 or not, as it’s just a codename at the moment, but Foley seems to think it will replace the long-in-the-tooth IE eventually.
Microsoft of course would like to regain its market share in browser usage, especially with Windows 10 that it hopes will power smartphones, computers and even televisions. There’s a lot riding on the new operating system for Microsoft…
A new browser isn’t a half-bad idea, as it needs to support lots of platforms and allow developers to basically write once and deploy on every system, so a new browser that will handle such a flexible set of inputs and end-user devices might be just what the company needs. After all, Internet Explorer is a bit of a tarnished brand these days.
In January, Microsoft will release the Windows 10 preview, which desperately needs to impress consumers after the debacle that was Windows 8 (not to mention the older Windows Vista which was heavily criticised). So, a new browser would definitely help to increase interest in Windows 10, as well as potentially win back some customers who have switched to alternative browsers.
The issue for Microsoft will be what happens if they don’t manage to impress the public and tech press, both with Windows 10 and the new browser….