“Windows! Ready your operating systems! Tonight we browse in Hell!”
Microsoft has come over all 300 on us and decided it’s time to release a new browser, known as Spartan. An understandable decision: almost everyone knows of the fun that’s been poked at Internet Explorer for years on end as it lags hopelessly behind its bigger brothers Firefox and Chrome.
If that sounds like jargon, it’s because it is. In short, the idea is that this new tech should make Spartan better, faster, and stronger than its competitors. If that’s not enough, then you’ll also be able to stick on an extension some third-party genius came up with to improve it.
But therein lies the rub. Before Spartan has even stepped up to the plate, it already has two monstrous monoliths of competition: Firefox, the ultra-extendible Mozilla product, and Google Chrome, the super-sleek offering from the mega-corporation of the same name.
Those tech-savvy enough to care about what browser they’re using are emphatically not using Internet Explorer, and they’re also the only ones with the know-how to make good extensions. So who will be making extensions for Spartan? The capability to have extensions isn’t much cop if there are no extensions to be capable of using.
Spartan’s only option is to be good enough on a technical level to lure back these techno-wizards. Whether Trident and Chakra will be up to the task is anyone’s guess, but it’s a tough game Microsoft is playing: fans of either Firefox or Chrome are often notoriously entrenched in their side of the debate, and will doubtless be tricky to attract.
There’s also an elephant in the room: why on Earth do we even need Spartan? There are two established browsers out there already, which do everything their users want and more. Switching to a new one seems unnecessary. I know the hotkeys for Firefox like the back of my hand, and frankly I don’t care how many tridents and pitchforks you cram into the next browser: I like what I know, and I like its extensibility, just as others like Chrome for its various perks.
People will use Spartan. I will use Spartan to download Firefox. My Nan will use Spartan, because it came with Windows and she doesn’t care. But otherwise, we have Firefox the mechanic, Google Chrome the fashion designer, and, err, Opera. With this duo and third wheel standing at the ready on the battlefield, we are left asking a question: Spartan, what is your profession? And so far, the purposeless warrior, for all of its bragging about its new muscles, seems to be shuffling rather awkwardly in silence.