Project Spartan is DOA if it’s limited to Windows

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Once upon a time Microsoft held a virtual monopoly of the browser market with Internet Explorer. It was a PC world and being the default browser pre-installed on Windows PCs guaranteed that almost everyone with a PC used it. That world doesn’t exist anymore.

IE is still dominant, but faces more competition now and it has suffered a dramatic decline in market share in recent years. Part of its challenge is that it is locked into the Windows OS. That limits the potential audience of users, and makes the browser less appealing for consumers who increasingly live in a multi-device, cross-platform world.

I wrote a blog post about why Project Spartan must be made available for all devices and platforms:

Microsoft recently revealed that it’s officially ending Internet Explorer (IE) with the launch of Windows 10. The venerable IE will be replaced by the streamlined new Project Spartan browser. Many are ecstatic about the demise of IE, and some are skeptical that Project Spartan is anything more than IE with a new coat of paint. However, the one thing Project Spartan really needs to capture market share has little to do with the browser itself: it needs to be cross-platform.

Microsoft has already conceded the cross-platform war. Its recent strategy of offering OneNote, followed by the full Microsoft Office productivity suite, on iOS and Android mobile devices has been effective. Last week, it added its Office Lens app for iOS and Android to extend the ability to scan documents and whiteboards from a mobile device on rival platforms. It needs to adopt that same all-inclusive mindset with Project Spartan.

Project Spartan cannot be a Windows-only browser like IE. Microsoft needs to make Project Spartan for Mac OS X, Project Spartan for iOS, Project Spartan for Android–maybe even Project Spartan for Linux. Much of the value of a browser today lies in the ability to open a tab in the browser on your PC and pick up where you left off from your smartphone while you’re on the go. People expect tabs, bookmarks, and even logins and passwords to be seamlessly synced. People want a browser experience that remains consistent no matter which device or platform they’re on.

IE once enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the browser market. Firefox and Chrome–and to a lesser extent Apple’s Safari–have eaten away at that dominance. IE still has more market share than all of those rivals combined, but its 90+% market share dwindled to just over 50%. Even that figure is debatable, because it depends on how you measure the browser market. There are metrics that suggest Chrome is more popular than IE.

Visit TechRepublic to read the full article: The one thing Microsoft’s Project Spartan browser needs to succeed.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 5 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. I really don’t care about syncing tabs between devices. I never understood what some people found so poisonous about IE. Sure, I’ve had it crash (not as much as some others I’ve tried!). I don’t care if Spartan IS IE with a paint job. As long as I don’t have to use Chrome.

    • Charles888 on

      It is much slower than most others, especially when working with a lot of tabs simultaneously. Initially Chrome was by far a lot faster, but IE made a lot of strides lately (but still it lags). Now, I think that Firefox is probably even a bit faster.
      IE is also a lot more painful to update. I hope Spartan (Edge) does something about that. Software in 2015 should be a lot more automatic to update.
      As for syncing tabs, why would anybody want to re-enter credentials into sites or bookmarks, or anything. You might not care about it, but the majority of people who are on the go care. For me, this is non-starter.

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