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31 March 2015
Microsoft has been dropping heavy hints for a while that it is getting rid of its Internet Explorer brand, but following confirmation from the company that a new name for the planned browser successor is in the pipeline, it seems as if Internet Explorer is almost certainly being killed off permanently.
Speaking at Microsoft Convergence on March 16, Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Marketing Chief, confirmed that the company is working on a successor to Internet Explorer, currently codenamed: Project Spartan. The new browser will be packaged with the forthcoming Windows 10 operating system, which is expected to be released this summer.
Internet Explorer 1.0 was first unveiled in 1995 and for many years it was the dominant browser. However, by 2006, Internet Explorer had some serious competition in the form of Firefox. Around this time IE’s market share began to decline and it went from having 85.8% of the market in 2002 to 54.7% in 2008. Just one year later, Firefox overtook Internet Explorer and from this point onwards, IE continued to haemorrhage users as Chrome and Firefox gained popularity. Today, Internet Explorer accounts for only 8% of the market, with Chrome dominating at 61.9% and Firefox enjoying 23.4%.
In the beginning, Internet Explorer was the only internet browser in town and Microsoft didn’t have to work too hard to keep users on board. Sadly they soon began to rest on their laurels and for several years, Microsoft did nothing to improve Internet Explorer, despite the fact that Firefox was becoming increasingly popular. Gaping security holes, irritating non-standard features and slow browsing speeds led to many users choosing another browser. Not even a series of ad campaigns could restore IE’s reputation.
And yet, despite all of the issues associated with previous incarnations of Internet Explorer, it seems as if users are not ready to stop using a Microsoft browser if it is branded with the Microsoft name. Market research carried out in the UK suggests that a new Microsoft browser is more appealing if it is packaged with ‘Microsoft’ as part of the name. So the future might not be Internet Explorer, but it will have the Microsoft name attached.
Microsoft says support for older versions of Internet Explorer will end from January next year, so if you are one of the few people still using IE 8, there won’t be any more technical support or security updates after this date. IE 9, 10 and 11 will continue to be supported for now, but Microsoft will no doubt be pushing users to try their new browser once Windows 10 is released.