2015.04 News: Meanwhile, over on the Other Side

Users of Apple hardware (Macintoshes and iThings) have long been accustomed to just using Safari, the web browser that comes standard with the operating system. Some users, not satisfied with the way Safari works, have instead opted for a 3rd-party browser like Firefox, Chrome, or Opera. Some, generally those who have to switch back and forth between Macs and Windows, have opted for Microsoft's venerable Internet Explorer, in order to have a consistent browsing experience no matter what computer they're using.

But, with Windows 10*, there'll be a new kid on the block. Microsoft will be gradually withdrawing from Internet Explorer in favor of a new browser currently code-named Spartan. It has some spiffy features, notably the ability to write directly on screen (likely more useful for tablets than for non-touch-sensitive computer monitors), as well as something called a "personal assistant", which conjures up the comment made about Microsoft's previous forays into helpfulness, "Wizards are an indication of a poor user interface in the first place"** and "Death to Clippy".***

To continue to make nice with their vast installed base of corporate customers, Microsoft will still support Internet Explorer and include it as part of Windows for some time to come, crossing their fingers that Spartan will prove so attractive that soon everyone will start designing their websites to accommodate it without breaking them for older browsers. But the handwriting's (finally) on the wall for IE.

No specific word yet on whether Spartan will be available in a version compatible with Apple hardware, but Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, has shown a strong tendency to respect the Apple platform for both its technological capabilities and its fervently loyal user base with its demonstrable willingness to part with large amounts of cash, so it's a safe bet.

*"Whoops, wait! How did I manage to miss Windows 9?" You didn't. Microsoft decided to skip over the number in hopes that everyone would think that 10 has to be so much more advanced than 8 and that nobody would notice that it was just packaging.
**David McKee, FileMaker Inc.
***several million people

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