Internet Explorer, the browser that many a techie loved to hate for nearly two decades, is about to experience the most existential 404 of all.
According to The Verge, Microsoft marketing executive Chris Capossela told an audience at the Microsoft Convergence conference that the company’s next browser, codenamed Project Spartan, will represent a clean break with Internet Explorer. Microsoft has yet to give a formal name to the new browser, which will appear with Windows 10 and (per the screen-shot above) boast a stripped-down aesthetic in line with many rival browsers.
At this point, however, most any name might do. Internet Explorer’s market-share has crumbled over the years, from 62.52 percent in March 2009 to a little under 19 percent today, according to browser-tracking Website StatCounter. Much of the market has been swallowed up by Google Chrome, which now occupies 48.7 percent of the market.
Over the past year, that decline drove Microsoft employees to publicly declare that a re-branding and name change was under serious consideration. “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 Reddit AMA with the browser’s core team in August 2014. “Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.”
Now it seems that Microsoft has crossed the point where it’s ready to chuck all of Internet Explorer’s branding—and baggage. Come to think of it, “Spartan” is already a pretty cool name for a browser.
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