Microsoft is rumoured to be working on a brand-new web browser to launch alongside its next-generation Windows 10 operating system, currently working under a codename of Spartan.
A clear dual-purpose pun - 'spartan' can mean something austere or frugal while also being the name of the genetically-engineered warriors from Microsoft's Halo franchise, which has already lent the name 'Cortana' to the company's voice-activated assistant software - Spartan is claimed to offer a more streamlined experience than the company's existing Internet Explorer browser. According to sources speaking to ZDNet
's Mary Jo Foley, who has previously been bang on-the-money with pre-release Microsoft rumours, will feature much the same engines - Chakra and Trident - as Internet Explorer but with a revised interface and a focus on improving speed and minimising resource usage.
Foley's sources claim that Spartan will launch, under a yet-to-be-decided product name, on Windows 10 in both Modern UI and classic Desktop variants. It is further claimed that the browser will be one of two pre-installed within the operating system, with the latest version of Internet Explorer being made available for backwards compatibility purposes. With Microsoft's anti-monopoly deal with the European Union, which saw users in that region asked what browser they would like to download and use, these will be the only browsers available by default.
Previous rumours had suggested that Internet Explorer 12 will feature a new user interface inspired by Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox along with support for add-on extensions, potentially even those written directly for Chrome. Foley's sources suggest that these features are likely to be part of Spartan, rather than IE 12, although have yet to indicate when either will be made available to the public.