A name is a powerful thing. And a name like “Internet Explorer” conjures up a decade of sluggish speeds, limited support, and exploited vulnerabilities.
Microsoft claims that the latest version of Internet Explorer has significantly improved beyond its earlier reputation. In fact, during an Reddit AMA on Sunday, Microsoft engineer Jonathan Sampson said the team has considered rebranding as recently as two weeks ago:
“It’s been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it. Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.”
Indeed, the AMA outlined some major changes at Microsoft with the purpose to distance itself from older versions of Internet Explorer while adding more support to newer ones. For example, IE will begin blocking outdated Active-X plugins in September. It will also stop supported IE8 on January 12, 2016, and at the same time require many Windows users to use the most updated versions of IE for their respective platforms.
One thing that was noticeably absent: Microsoft’s cross-platform push. While Microsoft has been strongly promoting its services on non-Windows devices, the AMA revealed there are “no current plans for Android/iOS.”
A defragmented Internet Explorer will be a more consistent browser, but it was clearly a hard sell to Reddit users who aren’t so quick to forgive its past mistakes. However, Internet Explorer is still the second most used browser on Earth, (since it comes packaged with Windows OS) so any attempts to improve it are welcome.
Photo by Javier Aroche