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Microsoft simplifies its browser strategy; stops short of killing Internet Explorer

By Ng Chong Seng - on 25 Mar 2015, 10:41am

Microsoft simplifies its browser strategy; stops short of killing Internet Explorer

(Image source: Microsoft.)

Fact #1: Microsoft isn’t killing Internet Explorer just yet. Fact #2: But it has no place in Window’s future either.

Over at the IEBlog (say, the name of this blog should change too), Microsoft has just shared its latest browser strategy for Windows 10, which is due this summer.

To recap, in January, Microsoft confirmed ‘Project Spartan’, a new browser that will be shipping alongside Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10. At that time, it was revealed that both browsers would support the new EdgeHTML rendering engine as well as the existing MSHTML (Trident) rendering engine, with the former being the default, and the latter only used when there’s a need (i.e., for legacy support).

But this decision has changed.

Now, Microsoft has decided to ditch this dual-engine approach. To be more specific, Project Spartan, the default browser in Windows 10, will only support EdgeHTML, which is optimized for modern websites and standards; and IE will only support MSHTML for sites that still need it.

Microsoft (emphasis ours):

We feel this change simplifies the role of each browser. Project Spartan is our future: it is the default browser for all Windows 10 customers and will provide unique user experiences including the ability to annotate on web pages, a distraction-free reading experience, and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster. Web developers can expect Project Spartan’s new engine to be interoperable with the modern Web and remain “evergreen” with no document modes or compatibility views introduced going forward.

There should be no argument that this is a very sensible move. Legacy support has always been the strength of Windows, but it also hampers the OS’ progress as a whole. The previous dual-engine arrangement has always sounded strange to me, because why anyone switch to Project Spartan if IE11 runs just as well? In the short term, enterprise users might be the most affected by this decision (when they use the non-EdgeHTML IE), but on the longer term, this might ‘force’ them to employ modern standards and move to Project Spartan. That would be the time to bury IE for good.

Source: IEBlog.