Should Microsoft Change Internet Explorer’s Name?

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Should Microsoft change Internet Explorer’s name?

Over the past three years, Internet Explorer’s share of the worldwide browser market crumbled from above 40 percent to just over 20 percent today, according to Internet statistics firm StatCounter. Over that same period, Google Chrome rose to become the dominant Web browser, with 45 percent of the market in July 2014. Apple’s Safari browser, inching upward in the rankings, now tops 10 percent.

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Faced with that downward pressure—and the lingering perception of IE as riddled with security vulnerabilities—Microsoft has considered changing Internet Explorer’s name. “It’s been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it,” IE developer Jonathan Sampson wrote in a recent Reddit AMA with the browser’s core team. “Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.”

Sampson also hinted that the name could still change: “The discussion I recall seeing was a very recent one (just a few weeks ago). Who knows what the future holds.”

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Whether or not Microsoft actually rebrands the browser, the Internet Explorer developers seem dedicated to revamping the extension library, the desktop interface, and other elements. There are no plans at this time, however, to make the browser platform-agnostic. “Enabling developers that use Macs to test sites easily in IE is important to us,” another IE developer explained on the thread. “That’s why we’ve launched modern.IE and provided free VMs and other tools to do so.”

The bigger question for Microsoft is whether changing IE’s name would help it in the short term against Chrome and other browsers that are rapidly gaining market-share. If the company goes that route, what should they rename it?

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