Microsoft Looks to Compete in 'Internet of Things' World with New Browser
By announcing the end of Internet Explorer, Microsoft admits it has lost the current search engine battle, but looks toward the future with its new, not-yet-released browser code-named "Project Spartan" which will be rolled out with Windows 10.
Internet Explorer (IE) launched in 1995 challenging the then dominant Netscape Navigator. In 1996, Microsoft bundled IE with its Windows operating system and soon killed off Navigator.
For more than a decade, IE dominated the browser market, achieving 95% per cent of all browser usage around 2000. At that same time, several competitors such as Apple and Google came into the browser market, and began eroding Microsoft's share. Over the past decade, IE has faced criticism about its sluggish performance and security flaws, further decreasing its popularity.
According to a report by the UK's Independent, while exact figures are hard to calculate, "IE is now clicked upon for 13 to 20 per cent of web sessions, with a similar number for Firefox, while Google’s Chrome accounts for 41 to 60 per cent of all browsing."
However, many experts point out that Microsoft was a trailblazer for browser technology two decades ago, and IE is responsible for many innovations that make the web what it is today.
The Independent reports that the Project Spartan browser is likely to be unveiled later this month and will have the "same stripped-down feel as Chrome and integrate Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortona – its equivalent of Apple’s Siri – to bring additional information within the same window."
Microsoft's marketing chief, Chris Capossela, announced the news about IE's replacement at a conference earlier this month, explaining: “We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be.”
In an interview with NPR, AdWeek's Kristina Monllos talked about the challenges Microsoft will face in shaking off IE's stigma. "The Internet Explorer brand is so tainted," she said. "When you think of Internet Explorer the first thing you think of is that it's slow. Or, 'that still exists?'"
According to the NPR report, "Monllos said it will be very easy for Spartan, even though it's new, to be stuck with those types of opinions, so Microsoft will have to work extra hard to prove that Spartan is really different. 'They don't want people to see it as if they're just putting lipstick on the Internet Explorer pig.'"
Project Spartan reminds us that all roads in the tech world today are leading to the Internet of Things (IoT), including browsers. Tech companies need to meet the demands of a world where consumers are mobile and consume the web over several devices. IE could not do that, so it is being replaced. Browsers competing in the today's interconnected world will anticipated to source more and more information for users across a suite of Internet-linked devices – with automation of websites and/or data providing us with the information we need how and when we want it.