Software

Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

Redmond fires back as browser bullet brouhaha brews

By Iain Thomson in San Francisco

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Microsoft is rumoured to have killed off its nearly 20-year-old Internet Explorer browser – but the firm has told The Register there's life in the old code yet.

At the Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta, US, on Monday, Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela appeared to suggest the recently announced Project Spartan, a stripped-down web browser with none of the legacy code of IE, would come to the fore, and that Microsoft will rebrand IE. Not so, says Redmond.

"Project Spartan is Microsoft's next generation browser, built just for Windows 10," a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register.

"We will continue to make Internet Explorer available with Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy browser support."

Which is somewhat ambiguous, but it essentially means everyone will get Internet Explorer, except those who install Windows 10 and even then, they can ask for it back.

Microsoft has to keep IE going because so many enterprise customers still use it, with version six still being run internally for some processes, but it's a pain in the backside for Redmond because there's so much legacy code in there that the browser is sluggish and patching problematic.

Spartan is clearly where Microsoft wants to go with browser technology; even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness. From what Redmond says, it's reasonable to assume that IE may be something consumer customers are going to have to install if they need it.

Windows 7 and 8 users will still have IE, although Microsoft is doing its best to make those operating system builds a dying breed. When Windows 10 is launched, possibly this summer, existing users of Windows 7 and above will be offered a free upgrade in the first 12 months.

In the meantime we'll have to wait and see; Spartan code hasn't even been released yet; it won’t be until the summer. A reliable source close to Microsoft sent us this clip to sum up Redmond's thinking on IE. ®

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