After being the subject of Internet Explorer-based ridicule for a number of years, Microsoft is set to release a brand new web browser to compete with the likes of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, according to reports this month.
The program, which is being developed under the code name ‘Spartan’, will be Microsoft’s first new attempt at a browser since Internet Explorer – or IE – was first released almost two decades ago as part of the Windows 95 operating system.
IE market share falls to one in five
While Internet Explorer was the world’s most popular web browser for a number of years, it was overtaken by Google Chrome in 2012 and has since been widely criticised by the tech world for a range of issues related to its poor performance when compared to its major competitors.
As of November 2014, just one fifth of the world’s internet users surf the web on a version of IE, as compared to 52 per cent for Google Chrome. Now with Satya Nadella scheduled to give a keynote speech on Windows 10, speculation is building around the possibility that Spartan will be officially unveiled officially at the event on January 21.
In an interview on the topic, the Microsoft CEO said: “Productivity is the only thing that matters for the individual, the organisation or the entire economy. The core driver of the use of technology is to create fulfilment in individual lives and drive economic gain for entire companies and entire economies.”
Interestingly, Spartan is not expected to replace Internet Explorer, but will instead be shipped alongside the latest version – IE11 – on desktop and mobile machines running Windows 10. It is not known whether the program will be made available on other major platforms – like iOS, OS X or Google’s Android system.
Prospective users can expect to see a number of new features included with Spartan, including an annotation tool and the ability to group tabs.