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Rumour: Microsoft Working On New Lightweight Browser In Order To Compete With Chrome

December 31, 2014 - Written By David Steele

I’m blessed with the requirement to use Microsoft Internet Explorer at my other workplace and an old version at that. I can’t use any of the numerous alternatives available because these have either been found to cause problems with the other applications installed on the computer, or have not yet been tested. And whilst I would concede that Internet Explorer is not too bad for the purposes of what I’m doing with it, I would much rather be using an alternative. For those readers that find themselves in a similar position, I have a glimmer of hope with the news that Microsoft are working on a completely new web browser to coincide with the summer 2015 release of Windows 10.

Unfortunately, at this point Microsoft are keeping quiet and said that they have “nothing to share” regarding any new browser rumors. We’ve seen reports, citing unnamed sources, that the browser is being developed under the codename “Spartan,” which is perilously close to being able to say, “come on Sparta!” at your computer when waiting for a web page to load. This perhaps lends some weight to the idea that the new Microsoft browser will be lightweight. The source also reckons that the new browser isn’t based on WebKit but instead on one (or both) of Microsoft’s Trident rendering engine. It’s expected to be able to run extensions in a similar vein to the Google Chrome browser. However, I do need to clarify that these are unsubstantiated rumors: we don’t know if there is such a project and if so, what it will be based on. Microsoft hinted during a Reddit Ask Me Anything earlier this year that the team have considered changing the name of Internet Explorer to help users understand that the much more standards-compliant browser of today is very different from older, proprietary versions. Windows 10 may be released with both the new browser and Internet Explorer 11, an idea that fills me with horror and I’d hoped that Microsoft were out of the habit of duplicating core applications by now.

We may find out more at the January 21 Windows event and as I’ve said, Windows 10 isn’t due out until the summer. Perhaps we’ll see test versions of the Spartan browser between now and then? When the new version of Window arrives, perhaps with the new browser in tow, we could see a simultaneous release for Windows Phone as well as older versions of Windows. Microsoft may also release the browser onto the Android platform too. We will keep you on the loop.