Microsoft reportedly developing lightweight browser dubbed Spartan

Raise your hand if Internet Explorer is your primary web browser. Yeah, I didn't think so. IE's share of web traffic has been in decline for quite some time. Chrome dominates, and now, Microsoft may be building a new browser that emulates its minimalist style. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley cites multiple sources as saying that a lightweight browser dubbed Spartan is in development in Redmond.

According to Foley's moles, Spartan will use Microsoft's Trident rendering and Chakra JavaScript engines. The browser will reportedly be part of both desktop and mobile versions of Windows 10, but it won't be called IE 12. Microsoft appears eager to distance itself from the browser brand it introduced nearly 20 years ago.

IE 11 will stick around in desktop versions of Win10, Foley's sources say, but only for backward compatibility. Spartan appears to be the future of Microsoft's browser plans. There's no indication of whether the new hotness will migrate to older versions of Windows, though Foley speculates that Spartan could be ported to other operating systems, such as Android and iOS. That would fit with Microsoft's recent push to have its flagship products available on multiple platforms.

Foley isn't sure when Spartan will break cover; it could be demoed on January 21, when Microsoft plans to show off the OS's "consumer experience," but it may not be ready for the Win10 Technical Preview. Regardless of when it arrives, the new browser will have to be pretty slick to lure users away from the alternatives.

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