Microsoft considered rebranding Internet Explorer to escape negative perception

Microsoft's Internet Explorer has a bit of a brand identity issue on its hands. Because of decisions made many, many years ago, Internet Explorer 6 has left a sour taste in the mouths of developers and consumers. Even some of the older iterations like IE7 and 8 are still loathed by consumers but later iterations like IE10 and 11 have fared much better in terms of providing a positive web browsing experience.

During an AMA that took place today on Reddit, the team was asked if they had ever considered rebranding the browser to escape the negative perception left behind by earlier versions of the browser. While Microsoft, at first, joked about renaming, they did say that they actually considered it. In fact, they revealed that there was a "particularly long email thread" talking about the change but the final decision was to keep the name in place.

Internet Explorer, for better or worse, has tons of consumer brand equity and that is not easy to achieve. Of course, Microsoft could easily establish a new brand identity with a new browser because of their ability to bundle it with Windows but that does not matter as the IE name is here to stay.

Obviously, many things get talked about internally that never make it outside the walls of Redmond. Even though IE may not have the best brand reputation at this time, it does appear to be improving and with enough time, IE may eventually regain the consumer confidence it desires - and that it needs if it is to keep up with Chrome and Firefox.

Source: Reddit

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They need to make IE forced and a background updateable. The web is a mess because people never update their Windows machines and such people have to support everything under the sun for IE versions which each have their own issues.

Good! They need to do less rebranding, that way they might actually be able to bring up product/service awareness outside of their core competencies.

I'd rather they spend their time listening to their audience and working accordingly.

I don't avoid IE because of the name, I just don't use it as often because of the tools I utilize day in and day out. A name change is a waste of time, money, and resources. Continue making IE better and we'll talk!

Why not just fix the browser? Duh! Don't re-brand. That's not going to change anything. The operating system is still going to fail just as much as before. Pepsi, GAP, Kraft, Tropicana, BP, and several other major corporations have tried re-branding to avoid negativity. Didn't work. Event Microsoft has already re-branded, and they spent so much money on it once and the financials were very obscure, they don't even know how much they spent. This process would simply smash something that's already broken in a few pieces.

Funny, rebranding seemed to work wonders for Vista when they decided to ship what was basically the same OS and call it Windows 7.

Also, they have been working on the browser. Version 10 and 11 are actually great browsers.

insanelyapple said,
What is the point of rebranding if everything inside stays same?

WOW. You have never been in business have you? :laugh:

If your users are stupid enough, it fools them into thinking it's a new product worth a look. If they're not stupid, it backfires and shows acknowledgment that what you did up until this point should best be forgotten. It's a last resort to try to reconnect with your target audience. I guess MS gave their audience a little credit here!

Words that MS is avoiding to use anymore:

-Windows CE.
-Vista
-Hotmail.
-Metro UI.
-Windows Me.
-Bob
-Zune (sadly)
-TabletPC
-RT
-Clippy.

Words that MS should not use anymore:
Comic Sans.

Outside of touch, which to me IE is the best browser.

They are all pretty much close enough now in terms of browsing the web, that I use IE just because I use a lot more MS products (xbox, phone, surface, etc..) that all integrate a lot better. I would probably use chrome though if I used a lot of google apps.

Sraf said,
If you read the AMA, it is something they will work on, they just haven't decided when

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Dream as if you were to live forever"....
I am always interested to see what future developments will bring on the table but I have to base my decisions on what is available today.

Sraf said,
If you read the AMA, it is something they will work on, they just haven't decided when

Yeah that is just a marketing response which really means it ain't gonna happen in the next 5 years.

Cosmocronos said,

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Dream as if you were to live forever"....
I am always interested to see what future developments will bring on the table but I have to base my decisions on what is available today.

And that's fair. I just wanted to point out that there's no reason to write it off forever, and who knows (aside from these guys) when it will come. Could be Q1 next year, could be Q4 2027

If it weren't for the lack of proper extensions, I'd personally ditch Chrome at this point

It hasn't been a pile of crap for years and years. Might want to update your ignorant biases some day to reflect modern realities.

Maybe they should rename windows to something else too because after windows 8 they've got their hands full with those "negative perceptions".

Order_66 said,

Maybe they should rename windows to something else too because after windows 8 they've got their hands full with those "negative perceptions".

I thought it was already "Microsoft Tiles"

:D

Order_66 said,
Maybe they should rename windows to something else too because after windows 8 they've got their hands full with those "negative perceptions".
True. You know it's bad when people won't buy a Windows Phone because of the name "Windows" & the number "8".

JHBrown said,
True. You know it's bad when people won't buy a Windows Phone because of the name "Windows" & the number "8".

Everyone likes Office. They're just going to rename everything to Office.

Office OS
Office Browser
Office Game Console
Office Phone

Dot Matrix said,

Source?
I've personally witnessed it a few times. I've mentioned here a few times that my brother is a GM at Best Buy. I spend more time than I should there visiting him. I've seen first hand sales associates trying to push a Windows Phone. Finally, I've also mentioned here on the forums witnessing a lady at the AT&T store saying that she did not want a Windows Phone because everyone says Windows 8 is terrible. LOL!

JHBrown said,
I've personally witnessed it a few times. I've mentioned here a few times that my brother is a GM at Best Buy. I spend more time than I should there visiting him. I've seen first hand sales associates trying to push a Windows Phone. Finally, I've also mentioned here on the forums witnessing a lady at the AT&T store saying that she did not want a Windows Phone because everyone says Windows 8 is terrible. LOL!

Your "LOL!" makes your story quite doubtful.

Dot Matrix said,

Your "LOL!" makes your story quite doubtful.

What does laughing out loud have to do with doubt? It made me laugh seeing the salesman's reaction. Your attitude is unbelievable sometimes. Although I am not surprised at your absolute denial when it comes to some things. Wake up man!

Edited by JHBrown, Aug 16 2014, 2:46am :

JHBrown said,
What does laughing out loud have to do with doubt? It made me laugh seeing the salesman's reaction. Your attitude is unbelievable sometimes. Wake up man!

"LOL!" Written in all caps gives a sense of trollishness. Almost like you're snickering under your breath as you write. I asked for a source for those claims, and out of everything you wrote, all I saw and heard was "LOL!"

Dot Matrix said,

"LOL!" Written in all caps gives a sense of trollishness. Almost like you're snickering under your breath as you write. I asked for a source for those claims, and out of everything you wrote, all I saw and heard was "LOL!"

You just failed at reading comprehension 101. Going back to my post you will notice the LOL after I mentioned what this lady told the salesman. I can't help that anything negative about Microsoft you take personal. That's a personal problem dude!

Dot Matrix said,

And where's yours?

Since I don't have any sort of mentally ill infatuation/fixation/love for a law-breaking and dishonest customer abusing monopoly my credibility automatically towers so far above yours that you would need a high power telescope just to see the bottom of my foot.

JHBrown said,
You just failed at reading comprehension 101. Going back to my post you will notice the LOL after I mentioned what this lady told the salesman. I can't help that anything negative about Microsoft you take personal. That's a personal problem dude!

I didn't fail at anything. I asked a serious question, and was met with a snarky commentary to a story that may or may not have even have happened.

A serious question deserves a serious answer.

Dot Matrix said,

I didn't fail at anything. I asked a serious question, and was met with snark with a story that may or may not have even have happened.

A story that may or may not have happened? This ain't high school Dot!

nosense said,
The only thing stopping from moving to chrome to IE11 is the lack of browser apps.

Due to performance issues, I've disabled almost all of the apps and plugins in Chrome and Firefox to such an extent that it's not really much of an advantage over IE. And I have a powerful laptop!

nosense said,
The only thing stopping from moving to chrome to IE11 is the lack of browser apps.

I agree. That, and every browser app I add installs a toolbar. They need an interface like Chromes where you just have buttons on one toolbar...

Darth Tigris said,

Due to performance issues, I've disabled almost all of the apps and plugins in Chrome and Firefox to such an extent that it's not really much of an advantage over IE. And I have a powerful laptop!

Really? I have a 5 year old laptop as my main computer rocking a Core 2 Duo and Firefox loads in ~1 second and runs just great.

bithush said,

Really? I have a 5 year old laptop as my main computer rocking a Core 2 Duo and Firefox loads in ~1 second and runs just great.

It's fast on mine too. Really fast. So is Chrome. So is IE11. Because I pretty much have only adblock running on them now.

For the record, I have an i7. Yeah.

Better would be to come up with a new hip browser that is geared more towards the consumer side of the house and leave IE for the Enterprise. How about purchase Opera and go from there.

_Alexander said,

Well I agree that Firefox is a well polished turd.

Firefox is a fine browser now. It needs to improve it's security model, but other than that it's a perfectly fine browser. Compare the current version of Firefox to Firefox v4 however and it's easy to forget how bloated, memory leaking, and buggy it was.

Same applies to Internet Explorer. IE7 was an enormous turd (much worse than any other 'modern' browser at the time), however the pressure applied to Microsoft by the likes of Mozilla and Google forced them to up their game, and now IE11 is a good browser.

Don't take my comment the wrong way and presume that Firefox was at any time as bad as IE7 was.

Majesticmerc said,

Firefox is a fine browser now. It needs to improve it's security model, but other than that it's a perfectly fine browser. Compare the current version of Firefox to Firefox v4 however and it's easy to forget how bloated, memory leaking, and buggy it was.

Same applies to Internet Explorer. IE7 was an enormous turd (much worse than any other 'modern' browser at the time), however the pressure applied to Microsoft by the likes of Mozilla and Google forced them to up their game, and now IE11 is a good browser.

Don't take my comment the wrong way and presume that Firefox was at any time as bad as IE7 was.


Security is the least of Firefox's problems as users do not know or care about security until their Facebook is hacked and they have charges on their credit card.

Firefox is a browser that slows down the longer you use it and you have to reset it every half year or so.

Additionally, the team behind GPU acceleration is run by idiots. Firefox has problem rendering its own interface at 60 Frames Per Second which is hilarious and sad. They also still try to support XP, support for which was dropped from IE starting with 9.

Firefox is also mostly single threaded. One tab affects performance of the entire browser.

Still 32-bit and No tablet support..

No, Firefox is not a fine browser. It is a slow developer tool, a browser is fast and not frustrating.

IE 11 is so much better especially for touch right now. sadly their is a huge bias against MS and nothing they do will ever let them escape it.

DaveBG said,
yes, just one problem, no one actually have touchscreen on his desktop yet...


Irreverent, even if you had a touch screen for your desktop how long can one hold their hands in the air? The keyboard and mouse is the best combo for everyday use and getting work done. The only way a touch interface makes sense for desktop use is if the screen is built flat into the desk itself but you then have ergonomic problems (neck).

01Michael10 said,

Irreverent, even if you had a touch screen for your desktop how long can one hold their hands in the air? The keyboard and mouse is the best combo for everyday use and getting work done. The only way a touch interface makes sense for desktop use is if the screen is built flat into the desk itself but you then have ergonomic problems (neck).

The vast majority of PCs are mobile (i.e. laptops). Touch is becoming more and more common on these, and the whole "how long can one hold their hands in the air" thing is just a load of bunk. No one has ever suggested that a touch keyboard replace a desktop or laptop keyboard, or that you'd ever hold your hands in the are like that.

Instead, the reality is that having a touch screen is *always* better than not having one, and having one on a laptop is particularly useful. It doesn't replace the keyboard or touchpad (/mouse/TrackPoint/etc), it augments it. For example, it's often much more natural to rest your arm on the table and use your thumb or finger to pan a page on the screen, rather than do multi-finger gestures on your touchpad.

I really look forward to the day when this point is settled.

DaveBG said,
yes, just one problem, no one actually have touchscreen on his desktop yet...

1) Wrong

2) People use touch on desktop tablets all the time too

My desktop at home has a touch screen (Dell XPS8500). My laptop has a touch screen (Yoga2Pro). My tablet has a touch-screen (SurfacePro3). I use touch all the time. And Chrome, until VERY recently, was completely unusable with touch. Even now, it's way worse than IE11.

Brandon Live said,

. . .

I completely agree.

I've never understood that argument. When I use a laptop with a touch screen I use the mouse and keyboard for the most part but from time to time it feels more natural to touch the screen.

People are correct, it's far too much work to always use the touch screen but, in reality, people don't do that. They just use it as a third input device and it's freak'n awesome.

swanlee said,
IE 11 is so much better especially for touch right now. sadly their is a huge bias against MS and nothing they do will ever let them escape it.

What does bias have to do with convenience?

I install/reinstall Windows a lot, given my line of work with testing. If I can load up Chrome, sign in, and have my addons and bookmarks loaded... that's just awesome.

I say this as someone who was using Firefox for a good while simply because I don't like Google as a company. Thing is, I can't deny convenience when it's staring me in the face. Firefox has some cool syncing capabilities now, but as far as I'm aware, they don't sync addons.

Firefox also has powerful addon capabilities, and FireFTP is just my client of choice, given how easy it is to configure and use.

It's not about an "unfounded bias against Internet Explorer", it's about knowing what options we have and utilizing them. There's no reason to sit around trying to figure out how to do everything with IE if you have options.

Brandon Live said,
"...the whole "how long can one hold their hands in the air" thing is just a load of bunk. No one has ever suggested that a touch keyboard replace a desktop or laptop keyboard"

Correct, no one has suggested a touch keyboard can replace a regular keyboard and neither did I say any one did. People use keyboards and mice 99% of the time, which even you admitted so why would someone break their workflow and lift their hands in the air to touch the screen then go back to the mouse and keyboard?

"...the reality is that having a touch screen is *always* better than not having one"

Sure, having any feature of anything is better then not having it but if I am going to spend more money on a monitor rather it go toward one with a nicer display.

"I really look forward to the day when this point is settled."
It is settled... Touch screens will never be used regularly with desktop computers but other technologies in the future will finally lessen are need for the mouse and keyboard. Think AI coupled with voice commands (Star Trek) and maybe 3D holograms you can manipulate with your hands (Minority Report?).

"...time to time it feels more natural to touch the screen."

I agree if you are like 12 years old and all you know is touch screens from your phone and tablet. Myself? I have been using keyboard and mice for desktop use for 30 years so it's NEVER more natural to lift my hands in the air to touch the screen.

"People are correct, it's far too much work to always use the touch screen but, in reality, people don't do that. They just use it as a third input device and it's freak'n awesome."

You have already admitted people mostly use the mouse and keyboard and now that the touch screen is harder to use in most cases. Great, we agree the touch screen is not really a needed "thing" for the desktop.

Edited by 01Michael10, Aug 15 2014, 6:41pm :

@01Michael10, you've clearly never even tried, so you're speaking from a vantage point of ignorance.

Slate even did a whole story debunking all your assumptions.

Why would you touch the screen? Because it's simple, intuitive, and obvious. A quick flick to scroll can be both faster and more precise than using a scroll bar. Dismissing a dialog with a tap can be very obvious. Once you start doing it, it's just NATURAL. You don't even THINK about it. And that happens far faster than learning "hot keys" or mouse gestures or trackpad gestures.

I'm 50 years old, and have been using mice and keyboards my entire adult life. I work with computers daily. And since getting touch screens at home, I can't tell you how many times I've tapped this screen at work and been puzzled when nothing happened for just a second.

All I can do is tell you that intellectually you think you have a point (and I believed similarly), but the truth and reality of experience trumps your assumptions... you are just wrong.

Wow! I am ignorant and wrong just because you and Slate said so? I stand corrected!

Sorry, touch screens are great IF holding a device in your hand or if like I said had a monitor built into the tabletop or desk for "desktop" use.

Maybe you are a little long in the tooth there and get a little confused sometimes? I know when I am using my tablet or phone and when at my PC. I never get confused on what input device I am using myself...

Funny, we have a number of all-in-one desktop PCs with touch screens we have deployed at my work place. The staff does not use the touch screens on them. I guess they want to be productive or maybe they are all just ignorant and wrong like me...

Edited by 01Michael10, Aug 15 2014, 7:39pm :

No, you're ignorant and wrong because you're NOT speaking from experience and I am. And I USED to think the way you do now, but my opinion was changed in light of ACTUAL EXPERIENCE.

I'm LIVING PROOF that you are ignorant and wrong. I use the touch screen on my laptops ALL THE TIME.

You know what experience I have? ######! You must have been following me and looking over my shoulder for years! Now I am paranoid...

Sorry, I tried making my point via counter arguments and you are making yours by name calling and "knowing" what experience I have...

Thanks for playing but I think we are done here.

No, I made my point by citing actual experience. I didn't "name call" -- EVERYONE is ignorant about some things. And all your points are things I thought BEFORE GAINING ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. Which is why it's so easy for me to dismiss them as being from someone who, you know, hasn't actually TRIED but is only speaking from imagination or notions or assumptions.

And that's definitely you.

Because you say "you can't do X" and I do X all the time, or "it's inefficient to do Y" and I do Y quite efficiently, or "it's awkward to do Z" and I do Z without any awkwardness at all, or you say "W would be tedious" and yet it's not.

Basically, every single "reason" you cite simply isn't the case in my experience. And I have a lot. It's incredibly useful to have. NO, I don't use it ALL THE TIME on desktops. Of course not. But I almost always miss it when it's not there. And I use it a lot more than you'd apparently imagine in your limited imagination on Laptops. In fact, it's VERY frustrating to use a laptop without touch now.

It's just a very natural, very intuitive, very easy way to interact with a computer. Why you seem to be insisting it isn't is beyond me, to be honest. ALL evidence refutes you.

Dude, I am really glad touch screens work so great for YOU but...

I have a lot of experience with touch screens and have been using computers since the command line when you had to type a program in before the computer would do something. My whole career has been fixing computers and teaching others how to use them. People pay me to know this ######. Your - I bought a touch screen and I like it is meaningless to me.

Everyone I know whether working in IT or just a causal computer user all prefer and use the keyboard and mouse over the touch screen (if have one) for everyday use on a desktop.

I already conceded the touch screen is superior for certain functions even on a desktop but the fact is over 90% of all software program interfaces (being generous here) IN USE is not optimized for or even takes inconsideration touch screen input. It's NOT easier to use something that it's not designed for...

Once again, the reason touch screens works so great with phones and tablets is the device is in your hands all the time (no lifting your hands back and forth between the screen and the keyboard/mouse like on a desktop device). Also, all the apps are designed for and optimized for touch input.

On the desktop... I don't know what world you live in unless you only use your computer to check Facebook and scroll your photo albums then yes the touch screen would be great for you. Myself and most others use a lot of different programs on their computers and need to do real work on them. The keyboard and mouse is just more productive on the desktop. This may change but we are a decade away at least... Certain creative type people may use programs that are better on touch screens but they are a small minority.

I can't make this anymore clearer for you... Thanks for playing again and have a great weekend.

Eh. I use IE over Chrome/Firefox now. Fits what I need and is rather quick (using IE11), just as fast if not faster than Chrome.

Grinch said,
Eh. I use IE over Chrome/Firefox now. Fits what I need and is rather quick (using IE11), just as fast if not faster than Chrome.

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

DaveBG said,
everything is faster than chrome :) google have long lost the speed advantage and now are in the memory monster race

Firefox still runs slower for me than Chrome does. Haven't really bothered with any other browser aside from the big three (IE/Chrome/FF).

simplezz said,

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

OS X IE eh?

Grinch said,
Firefox still runs slower for me than Chrome does. Haven't really bothered with any other browser aside from the big three (IE/Chrome/FF).

Depends if you use Noscript + ABP.

simplezz said,

Depends if you use Noscript + ABP.

I'm talking core responsiveness without any modifications. Just a pure installation.

simplezz said,

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

Sounds like you really did your research!!

simplezz said,

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

That is BS right there.

Windows does absolutely nothing special for IE. The only "preloading" that happens is what SuperFetch does. And it does the same thing for Chrome's binaries and data files, if that's what you use.

IE for OS X hasn't existed since 2003 and was an entirely unrelated project.

simplezz said,

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

Stop feeding the (obvious) troll.

simplezz said,

Actually it's not faster (startup at least), Windows just cheats by preloading IE's components on bootup. Compare OS X IE vs Windows IE to see the difference.

lol! I compared Ubuntu IE instead. Runs pretty fast, but not as fast as Chrome on Windows Phone.

pmbAustin said,
The ship has only sailed for those stuck in the past who cannot update their opinions to reflect changed reality.

the only good thing about internet explorer now is that the engine is updated to run properly on every website

the bookmark is so bad i dont even wanna learn how it works
there are almost no addons and the ui is not as good as the other main browsers

There's nothing wrong with the bookmarking. I use it all the time. And the favorites bar is great too.

I don't understand the fascination with 'add ons' to be honest.

The UI is significantly better than Chrome, which is the main reason I use IE over Chrome (Chrome is far too Spartan with far too few options... and can't even switch tabs in MRU order, forcing you to cycle through them all with Ctrl-Tab, it's obnoxious).

IE11 is a perfectly fine browser.