Microsoft’s Spartan Web Browser Breaks Cover, Confirming MS Plans to Push IE Down a Well

Microsoft has long been rumored to be working on a new web browser for Windows 10, and if the screenshots which leaked earlier this week are the real thing then it has just become a reality.

Neowin reports that they got their hands on some screenshots of early builds of the Spartan web browser. They have not posted the screenshots, but they did post this mockup:


As you can see, it looks nothing like Internet Explorer, which Spartan is rumored to replace as the standard web browser for Windows 10. But I wouldn’t read too much into the mockup; even if it is 100% accurate there is still a chance that the interface could change completely by the time the browser is released into the wild.

But at least some details will remain:

Next to the reading mode is a folder icon and a share icon like we have in Windows 8 that makes it easy to share content to all of your favorite social networks or by email. And a bit further to the right of that are three dots that open up the settings for the browser.

Spartan runs in a borderless window that allows your content to stretch from edge to edge. This means that there is nothing at the bottom of the window to see and all of the new UI elements are at the top of the browser.

14399885825_18b5190304_z[1]It’s unclear whether Neowin got to see the browser itself or is simply repeating what they were told, but in either case we still don’t know very many of the important details like compatibility, real world performance, etc.

But The Verge reported yesterday that the new web browser will have improved annotation features as well as other radical changes and improvements:

Chief among the plans for Spartan is new inking support that allows Windows 10 users to annotate a web page with a stylus and send the notes and annotations to a friend or colleague. The web note service will be powered by Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, meaning notes will be stored on a copy of a web page that can be accessed by any browser across multiple platforms. As annotations are shared, multiple users can doodle on a web page and share edits and annotations between groups.

Update: The Chinese gadget blog CNBeta just posted a couple screenshots, including one for Spartan. There was no web page loaded but from what I can see the menu bar and other details look a lot like the mockup posted above.

image by CJS*64

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. […] Microsoft’s Spartan Web Browser Breaks Cover, Confirming MS Plans to Push IE Down a Well (Digital Reader) […]

  2. Scott_Tx9 January, 2015

    just a matter of time before Windows is renamed Halos

    1. Nate Hoffelder10 January, 2015

      Don’t you mean halOS?

  3. Tyler9 January, 2015

    I can wait to use the new Master Chief server solutions.

    1. Tyler9 January, 2015

      err can’t

  4. neuse river sailor9 January, 2015

    IE has a long and well-deserved reputation for being insecure. Maybe they should call this one Trojan.

    1. Ismail10 January, 2015

      At least they’re trying to make improvements to their product, rather than just offering up another IE7 retread with extra features.

  5. William Ockham9 January, 2015

    So far, everything they show is stuff I could do to IE today.

  6. AR10 January, 2015

    after watching the CNbeta’s images, it seems that While looking cool, MS has no idea how non-techs feel, when faced with an empty page, a few cryptic mystery icons and no hint what to do next. This design is stupid, Stupid, STUPID.
    I’d force the project manager go and see how an abject non-techie deals with his creation, and then go repent for his sins..

    1. DebbyS10 January, 2015

      I’ve always thought that any changes to MS Office should be first run past the lowly paid clerks and secretaries for their opinions before anything “new and improved” is unleashed on the public. What were they thinking, changing Autotext in Word 7 so it is now unusable? Don’t give the public what (company/marketing/designers/management) *think* they want, really try asking them!

      1. Nate Hoffelder10 January, 2015

        The changes to MS Office, in particular the ribbon interface, are why I use Libre Office.

  7. […] Surprising no one, Microsoft officially took the cover off of Project Spartan today during its Windows 10 event. […]


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