Microsoft developing new lightweight browser codenamed Spartan for Windows 10

IE black and white logo large

For a while, we heard talks about Microsoft working on Spartan, a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows 10, which aims to have a very similar look and feel like Firefox and Chrome. However, new information revealed today by ZDNet, states that Microsoft is actually building a brand new web browser software and it is not Internet Explorer 12.

According to the report, the Spartan browser will continue to use Microsoft’s Chakra JavaScript engine and the company’s Trident rendering engine, but it will not adopt the widely use WebKit engine.

Back in September, we learned some of the details about the browser including a new look similar to Chrome and Firefox, and support for extensions. But what’s even more interesting about Spartan is that it is not Internet Explorer 12, instead is totally a brand new lightweight internet software that Microsoft is building.

Also according to a new report from Neowin, Microsoft will introduce a new version of its rendering engine. Now with Spartan there will be two versions of Trident as the company will remove legacy support from the software. However, the new web browser will continue to offer backward-compatibility by calling an older version of the rendering engine (Trident), if the browser detects the webpage needs to render in compatibility mode. If there is no need for compatibility mode, then the new version of Trident will handle the rendering.

Because of the new change, the new Microsoft’s web browser will be a lightweight software, when compared to Internet Explorer 11.

At this point Spartan is just a codename, Microsoft has yet to talk officially about the project and name details. Nevertheless, we know that Windows 10 will ship with both IE 11 and Spartan for backward-compatibility purposes. Also Spartan will be available for desktops, mobile phones, and tablets for Windows 10.

Microsoft is expected to show off the consumer feature of Windows 10 on January 21th, and there is a chance that the software giant may demo Spartan during the press event. But it is unclear, if the web browser will be stable enough to ship with the Windows 10 January Technical Preview. And if the company is considering porting Spartan to other platforms including iOS, Android, and other operating systems.

This is a big project for Microsoft. Over the years, Internet Explorer has been accumulating bad publicity, letting other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox take a lot of the market share, even though the browser still in the top three software to access the internet. But with Windows 10, the company has to do everything they can to prove users its web browser still relevant to access the internet.

Goodbye IE.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.