Thursday 8 January 2015

Microsoft sweeps away IE for a clean Spartan look

For those who have followed the trials of tribulations of Internet Explorer (IE) over the past few years you may not be surprised to hear that Microsoft may now end the IE lineage with the release of a new browser currently called "Spartan". IE is dead, long live IE. 

Microsoft IE has a lot of history and some will say a lot of "baggage" with repeated security issues, compatibility and standards compliance issues cropping up over the years. I think some of these negative views are little unjustified as the security landscape has changed rapidly and dramatically over the past years. Microsoft has also made great strides in both rendering and JavaScript standards compliance. In fact, the Microsoft you see today, the one that embraces standards, open software and even other OS platforms (apparently Microsoft loves Linux) is very different from the striving, slightly isolationist monolith that it was (or was represented as by the press) even a few years ago.

Today, Microsoft is really different. And, maybe now is time for a change. Time for a new browser

The new browser codenamed "Spartan" will probably run along side IE11 (my educated guess) with the release of Windows 10. And there probably will be a parallel development and support path for both browser options for a while.  Microsoft has to support IE10 (and potentially IE11?) for a while, but not as long as you might think.

Generally, Microsoft will offer 5-6 years of mainstream support for its products. For example, Windows 8 was released on 10/30/2012 and mainstream support will end on 1/9/2018.

If you check the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Support page (found here) for IE you will find something very different from any other product or platform;
"Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates."

This is a big change, from previous support narratives, but given the nature of the security landscape and the rapid pace of change of Internet standards, an understandable stance to take.  Given that we are now in 2015, and Windows 10 is currently scheduled for release in late 2015, Microsoft's venerable browser may disappear quicker than you think.

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