Microsoft has (finally) announced their discontinuation of the Internet Explorer browser. To take its place will be a better, faster browser under an entirely new brand. The yet-to-be-named browser is currently operating under the code name Project Spartan, and will be featured in the new Windows 10 operating system. There is no official release date set, but more details will certainly arise at the Microsoft Build 2015 conference in April.
The Internet Explorer brand is a prime example of a technology that couldn’t shake its sordid past. The browser has seen consistent drops in market share year over year, as newer browsers like Firefox and Chrome rein dominant. The newer browsers provide users faster access to the Internet with the latest innovations in browser tech, and Internet Explorer simply couldn’t keep up.
The greatest challenge tech brands face is the fact that they cannot build long-term brand relationships between users and their products. When someone enjoys a Coca-Cola, they are able to reminisce about their childhood and the happiness that came along with an ice cold Coke on a hot summer day. When you reminisce about tech products, like the notoriously slow Internet Explorer, you experience feelings of frustration and disbelief that you used to be willing to wait MINUTES to gain access to the Internet. So, although Internet Explorer is one of the longest-standing browsers used, the brand’s age is not something that can be used as a positive branding element.
Internet Explorer’s flawed functionality left a dark stain on the public’s perception of the brand. The brand’s flaws ran so deep that Internet Explorer tried to shake the brand negativity by addressing the issues in their 2012 ad campaign, stating, “It isn’t just the name that has baggage, it’s the product.” Yet, here we are three years later, the public has not reinvigorated their love for the browser, and it is about to be put out to pasture.
Rather than try to keep fixing a brand that has lost favor in the eyes of the consumers, Microsoft has decided to bite the bullet and start fresh. The new start awards Microsoft the opportunity to bypass any preconceived notion of the browser, and offer new and amazing tech.
Microsoft now has the arduous (and fun) task of determining the name of their new browser. There are more variables to consider than just coming up with a “cool” name. The first decision to make is whether “Microsoft” should be a part of the browser’s name. The name chosen provides the opportunity to establish a relationship between the browser and the parent company. Once Microsoft has come up with a short list of names, then it is time to test and execute. Trademarks need to be secured, global testing must be performed, and URLs need to be purchased, just to name a few chores. Then, they have the final task of proving to the world market that their new product is far and away better than their last.
At the end of the day, the functionality and user experience that the new browser provides will be its greatest selling point. If Microsoft can pair the perfect blend of solid brand foundation with well-performing software, then they are sure to hit a home run.