In case you haven’t heard the news or had a chance to reflect on the ~20 year history of Internet Explorer, new broke recently that Internet Explorer is being retired by Microsoft. Depending on what industry you’re in or what your web browsing experiences have been, you might be cheering this move. Whether fair or not, it seems that IE has gained a negative reputation over the years. There are several interesting perspectives and reactions I’m seeing. Across the board though, I’m impressed by the number of people who know what IE is and what a browser is. We’ve come a long way as consumers to care about the application that delivers our web content and not just the content itself. In many cases (again, fair or not), IE has a stigma of being slow and bloated. Sometimes this is due to it being outdated and used within corporate locked-down IT environments. In other cases, it is because a tech savvy friend or relative has called us out for using it.
Regardless of our opinions and experiences, this doesn’t signal the end of browser development by Microsoft. Information leaks and speculation has grown over Microsoft Sparta which is touted as a light weight browser that might be introduced with Windows 10 in the coming days. We don’t have to look too far to read between the lines on why the brand is changing. We can look at the features and highlights of the new browser and assume that Microsoft has data and insights to show that the following are perceptions of IE…or at least this is my methodology.
I was asked how soon we could see IE disappear and if we were to use version upgrade history and adoption rates, then we’re not going to see it go away any time soon. As long as someone is running a legacy version of Windows, then it will likely exist. We find that even after Microsoft drops support for specific versions that a percentage of users still haven’t upgraded when looking at Google Analytics visitor data across many sites. Using an unsupported browser leads to a poor user experience as not all sites will work with it and is risky as security patches are no long developed to ensure that attacks are not prevented.
If we think back to the rebranding of Microsoft’s MSN search engine to Bing, we can see a template for how Microsoft hopes to spin off different departments and initiatives and have them live under, and build, their own brands. Is this all a bunch of speculation over nothing? Will the new browser resolve brand perception (and possibly any real) issues with IE…stay tuned.
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