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August 18, 2014

Why Microsoft might rebrand Internet Explorer

Reddit AMA reveals Redmond’s doubts over IE name.

By Joe Curtis

Microsoft is considering a potential rebrand of Internet Explorer due to "negative perceptions" of the web browser, the firm has revealed.

Redmond engineer Jonathan Sampson revealed employees were "passionately debating" the topic within the company, following a series of issues with IE over the last several years.

Responding on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything thread to someone suggesting a name change for IE, Sampson wrote: "It’s been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it.

"Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today."

Those negative perceptions are born of high-profile security problems that saw IE record more than double the flaws its rivals had in the first half of 2014.

Those include issues as recent as May, when a vulnerability affecting IE9 to IE11 meant hackers could potentially take control of other people’s computers.

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As a result, the US Government issued a warning to staff not to use IE until the bug was patched.

When Microsoft issued a fix, it went so far as to include users of XP, its out-of-support operating system.

However, IE still held a 58% stake of the web browser market as of July, according to Net Marketshare.

After Sampson’s comments, another user asked why Redmond has decided against rebranding IE so far, prompting an interesting answer.

Sampson said: "The discussion I recall seeing was a very recent one (just a few weeks ago). Who knows what the future holds."

Who indeed? Maybe the CEO, Satya Nadella, who has already taken the decision to rebrand Nokia’s X products as Lumia, to fit in with the Windows 8.1-running line of smartphones.

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