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Internet Explorer for Windows 10: 5 Things Microsoft needs to get right

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Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer on Windows 10 features we hope to see

Rumour has it that Microsoft is preparing to ditch Internet Explorer in Windows 10, producing a brand new web browser from scratch that will supplant the old IE brand.

Project Spartan, as it’s known, will apparently be a lightweight web browser running on both PC and mobile Windows 10 devices. By the sounds of it, Spartan will take its lead from web browser rivals such as Chrome and Firefox.

But what should be the priorities for a new browser approach from Microsoft? These are five things we hope it focuses on when Windows 8 makes way for Windows 10.

Security

One of the things that caused people to lose faith in Internet Explorer over the years was a perceived lack of security. Thanks in part to its immense popularity at its peak (it used to represent as much as 80 percent of the market), and also thanks to its wobbly framework, it proved easy to exploit.

As of today, of course, IE 11 is a much more secure web browser. But perceptions are hard to shift, and with online security a bigger issue than ever, Microsoft needs to make its new web browser water tight if it’s to claw back market share from Google.

Extensions

It’s being claimed that the new Windows 10 web browser will borrow one particularly crucial feature from Chrome and Firefox - extensions. Microsoft really needs to nail this, because it’s one of the big reasons people have defected to the aforementioned web browsers in their droves.

Extensions allow you to personalise and add functionality to your web browsing experience. They let you format, view, save, and share web content in a way that’s more personal to you, often tying in with other popular services and apps.

Internet Explorer 11 is a fine web browser with competitive core features as outlined elsewhere. But core features are no longer enough to win the web browser war, and Microsoft needs to make its web browser the hub of a buzzing ecosystem of useful plug-ins.

Extensions

Speed

Another thing that has won Chrome so many admirers over the years is its speed. When it arrived, Google’s lightweight approach to surfing the web was a snappy delight.

Again, recent versions of Internet Explorer have been extremely rapid in their own right, with things like hardware acceleration really upping the ante over the competition.

The new Project Spartan web browser can’t afford to take its foot off the gas at all. We’ve got to the point now where all of the top web browsers are super-snappy, so this feature is really a bare minimum if Microsoft hopes to make an impression.

Compatibility

The new web browser is being designed with Windows 10 in mind, but we’d argue that Microsoft should be doing everything in its power to make it compatible with as broad a range of hardware as possible.

Internet Explorer 11 was quick and pleasant to use, but it didn’t work on anything pre-Windows 7. Can Microsoft afford to be so narrow and exclusive with its next big web browser push? Given the broad spread of hardware configurations its rivals run on, we'd suggest not.

Dare we dream of Mac OS X support somewhere down the line, too?

Windows 10

Multi-device interoperability

Another of Chrome’s major plus points is that it works seamlessly across all sorts of devices. Log into Chrome on your smartphone and you’ll have all of your saved bookmarks, favourites, and history from your desktop sessions.

Microsoft’s new web browser needs to work across mobile and desktop. That’s not as obvious a point as it may seem, either.

It all ties back into the compatibility point. It’s pretty obvious that this new Microsoft browser will work seamlessly across Windows 10 devices of all shapes and sizes. But we need more than that.

The harsh fact in all of this is that most people who use Windows on their computer do not use Windows Phone smartphones - they use Android and iOS devices. As such, Microsoft really needs to make Android and iOS versions of its web browser.

Even if that means producing a slightly compromised product to meet with those platforms’ standards and interfaces - and it will - the ability to continue your web browsing experience on your mobile device, regardless of the make, will probably be paramount to project Spartan’s success.

What do you think Microsoft needs to get right if it does indeed launch a new web browser? Let us know in the comments below.

Matthew Bunton

January 5, 2015, 9:26 am

Price for me is the key here.

The adoption rates for new software are poor partly due to the appauling prices Microsoft insist on charging for essentially incremental upgrades.

Joycey

January 5, 2015, 10:40 am

I'd be happy if a standard web-browsing session didn't escalate to consume over 300mb of ram... I've lost count the amount of times I have had to stop ie processes due to this happening

Alder

January 5, 2015, 2:04 pm

While I definitely agree that memory consumption is an issue that needs addressing, it's also an issue that every modern browser falls short on. I currently have Chrome open with 4 tabs - Gmail, Teamwork PM, Facebook and this article, and my Chrome processes are adding up to over 1GB of memory consumption. Firefox? I just launched it, and with no extensions installed and no tabs open, just the start page, straight away it's using almost 100MB. So if "Spartan" can get that right it'll have a serious edge for sure.

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