Microsoft Wants You To Rethink Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has long suffered from the bad reputation it inflicted upon itself, and Microsoft is painfully aware of this. Ever since IE9, though, it’s been a pretty good browser and the latest versions have embraced open web standards, added a very fast JavaScript engine and new features like touch support. Still, even for Microsoft, IE remains the “browser you love(d) to hate.”

Over the last year or so – and especially in the lead-up to the launch of IE11 – Microsoft partnered with a number of organizations and developers ranging from Red Bull to Atari and GlacierWorks to showcase what a modern browser can do, and today it’s launching Rethink IE to aggregate all of this content and to start a new conversation around IE.

Rethink Home PageAs Roger Capriotti, Microsoft’s senior director for Internet Explorer marketing, told me earlier this week, the idea here is to showcase IE’s “leadership in trying to move the web forward” and to highlight the experiences IE has helped to create. Rethink IE brings together the work Microsoft did with its partners (though Cut the Rope is missing), both for consumers and developers. Developers get behind-the-scenes looks for how the different experiences were created, but the main idea behind the site is to continue Microsoft’s overall IE marketing theme of trying to redeem Internet Explorer in the eye of the public.

IE, Capriotti stressed, had a pretty good year, and last November, it saw its highest market share since 2012, with quite a few Chrome and Firefox users moving (back) to IE. “We want you to rethink what IE has become,” he noted, and for Microsoft, that specifically means IE on a tablet like the Surface. In Capriotti’s view, Chrome and Safari were developed for desktops and ported to mobile without fully taking advantage of the new platform. He believes that by designing the Metro version of IE from the ground up, Microsoft is a step ahead of its competitors. “If you look at Chrome on a tablet,” he said, “it looks like on the desktop.”

He also believes that now that load times and fast rendering engines are standard, the ability to build new experiences on a browser with the help of touch and other new technologies will be what sets browsers apart (while still maintaining support for open web standards, of course).