Report: Microsoft Could Ditch IE For a New Browser Named "Spartan"

by Darren Orf

Report: Microsoft Could Ditch IE For a New Browser Named "Spartan"

Windows 10 should bring lots of changes to Microsoft’s operating system, including a possible overhaul of Internet Explorer. Many believed the beleaguered browser would be getting an update with codename “Spartan,” including much needed additions like extension support. Now, ZDNet reports that Spartan may in fact be a new browser entirely.

So what’s different? Well, rumors say the underlying structure of IE/Spartan won’t be changing that much. According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, IE will continue to use Microsoft’s JavaScript and rendering engines. However, the browser will be light-weight and akin to its rivals like Chrome and Firefox with extension support. This also brings up the question if Spartan will be portable on non-Windows systems, such as Android, iOS, or OS X. We don’t know as of yet, but if it truly is mimicking Chrome and Firefox, the idea isn’t too crazy.

Foley’s undisclosed sources say Windows 10 will ship with both Spartan and IE11, though the latter may be for backwards compatibility only, and that Spartan will also be available on the Windows 10 mobile OS. The name Spartan could be a codename for Microsoft’s new browser, but the company does have an affinity for using Halo references for its software (i.e. Cortana). Whatever it will be called, this news seems more involved than just changing the name of the browser as the IE team suggested during a Reddit AMA earlier this year.

Spartan seems like it could be a “two birds, one stone” solution. Kill off the brand name that has become synonymous with poor browser performance, and create something new that addresses all the shortcomings of its forebears. Every new leak makes Windows 10 seem like the software savior Microsoft needs. Hopefully we’ll learn more about Spartan and everything else about Microsoft’s new OS at the Windows 10 event in late January. [ZDNet]


Microsoft reportedly working on brand new web browser for Windows 10

A new ‘lightweight’ browser that isn’t Internet Explorer

Microsoft is said to be at work on an all new web browser, codenamed Spartan, that could officially move the company away from Internet Explorer upon the launch of Windows 10. ZDNet reports that the new app is not Internet Explorer 12, the next iteration of Microsoft’s longtime browser that we’d typically expect alongside another major Windows release.

Instead, it seems that the company is planning to start anew with a web browser that looks and feels “more like Chrome and Firefox” according to ZDNet. But despite a new appearance (and perks like extensions), this new browser would retain the foundations of Microsoft’s current web technology. The new software will continue to utilize the Chakra JavaScript engine and Trident rendering engine, so Redmond isn’t suddenly switching over to WebKit, the engine that’s used by Apple’s Safari. Other competitors like Google have moved off the WebKit path and created custom variants of the engine to serve their own development needs.

Don’t expect to see Internet Explorer vanish, though. ZDNet says that IE 11 will still come bundled with Windows 10 for backward compatibility reasons, so Microsoft will in fact be shipping two browsers with its next big operating system. The next big Windows 10 event is scheduled for January 21st; that’s when we expect to hear more about the software’s new consumer-facing features and Microsoft’s plans for Windows 10 on tablets and phones. Could this new web browser also be on the agenda? That’s still up in the air, withZDNet reporting that Spartan may not be far enough along in development for inclusion in beta Windows builds.