The Return Of Microsoft?

How do you ditch a negative image? A tainted brand? How do you forge ahead? Give it a new name.

I don’t think there are many people that are going to mourn the death of Internet Explorer. I moved away from it as soon as I found Firefox, 12 years ago, and as Firefox itself has become a little too buggy I have shifted a lot of what I do to Chrome. Internet Explorer became almost as irritating as Clippy the Paperclip, and the remaining people I knew that used it were always getting the kind of problems that I had thankfully waved goodbye to when I stopped it from being my default browser.

Project Spartan is the current name Microsoft has for its new browser, and it looks kind of interesting – the proof will obviously be in the pudding, but it seems that the designers are looking at how people use their devices and what they are using them for, and they are responding with a product that ticks those boxes. You can annotate pages and easily share them around, and the reader function mimics the simplicity of an e-reader

It makes sense to move away from a brand that has become associated with bad security and for not offering the kind of functionality that users want from their browser, but if the new product in anyway replicates any of the faults of its predecessor a name change isn’t going to do much to save it. I remain hopeful though. Perhaps it is just the right time for Microsoft to regain some ground.

For some people the company is never going to be the company they choose – it has never really seemed cool in the way that Apple does, and its products have never really been what one might call sexy; but if they do what you need them to do, and make browsing experiences better, then perhaps that is all that is needed.

Sure, some people find other browsers and other companies because they never like Microsoft products, but some people, I am sure, reluctantly jumped ship because Internet Explorer clunked along and started to harm their productivity. This new browser might help them shake off that issue.

They have made some advertising missteps, poking fun at their own products – which is never good, even if you have made mistakes. But Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows, to loving Windows. That is our bold goal.”

With Firefox clunky, Google Chrome not demonstrably evolving, and Apple making slightly bigger phones and watches rather than actually doing anything really interesting, perhaps Microsoft stands a chance of being where its at. People don’t expect much from them in the way of innovation, so if they really hit it out of the ballpark, people are going to notice.