Microsoft Considered Rebranding Internet Explorer To Ultron, But The Lawyers Said No

Engineers from Microsoft’s IE platform team took part in a Reddit AmA session. Engineers present during this session were number of subject matter experts covering JavaScript, DOM, CSS, HTML, Graphics/WebGL, Touch, Performance, Developer Relations, F12 Developer Tools, Web Standards, Testing, and more.

When answering about whether Microsoft considered rebranding and changing the name of Internet Explorer due to its negative perception, IE team revealed that they briefly considered Ultron, but the lawyers said no. They even answered a question about negative perception,

Q: I’ve always had this question in mind too. The IE name has been so widely denigrated that even if they make it the best browser in the market, I think its reputation will affect the distribution and adoption of the browser very adversely.

Ans: It’s been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it. Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.

The discussion I recall seeing was a very recent one (just a few weeks ago). Who knows what the future holds :)

-Jonathan Sampson

They even revealed that they are now seriously following web standards,

Q: As a developer, the “leverage the features” mindset is why I dropped IE as a serious player a long time ago. We don’t want to “leverage your features” we want you to conform to existing web standards.

Ans: This is something we’ve been actively doing for some time now. Each successive release of Internet Explorer has seen more and more adoption of existing web-standards.

Our team actively works with Google, Apple, and Mozilla (among others) on developing new standards for driving the web forward.

As an example, just about a month ago we found ourselves having a discussion about response media – after a few minutes we decided to reach out to Google for some joint-discussion.

If there are any standards you feel we’re trailing behind in support, please feel free to email me directly (josamp[at]microsoft), or reach out on twitter: @jonathansampson.

-Jonathan Sampson

They also confirmed that they are not working on IE for Android or iOS.

Ans: Right now, we’re focused on building a great mobile browser for Windows Phone and have made some great progress lately. So, no current plans for Android/iOS.

We are committed to improving our own engine. We love the fact that the web was built on multiple competing (yet interoperable) platforms and believe that this is how it is going to move forward into the future!


Read the whole AmA session here.

  • observer2121

    IE is the most popular browser in the world and they want to rebrand? Yes they are losing market share but that is natural as new competitors join the fray. You can’t stay at 80% market share forever.

  • leapin74

    I personally use IE but I know a lot of my work colleagues use chrome because they have heard so many bad things about IE (same happens with windows phone). Maybe by re-branding they can get these people to at least give it a go.

    • donzebe

      They should be very careful rebranding because that might kill the product all together. They really have to come up with a catchy name that is easy and fun to pronounce in all languages. As for windows phone, they have not been a strong simple hardware with wow factor that have make it to household name like the Galaxy for Android.

    • Men’s Rights Groningen

      I wouldn’t agree with you, rebranding Windows Phone would be horrible, it’s like suddenly giving a product another name, for M.S.N. Search to Windows Live Search to Live Search to Bing gave people the opinion that they were handling different products, I.E. has built a name for itself, tomorrow it’ll be 19 years old, at-least keep the name for 2 decades, maybe they should make an Internet Explorer+ for enterprise that comes on the Windows Professional edition.

      • FUD Hater

        From the get-go the phone should have been named “XPhone” or something similar. “Windows Phone” isn’t cutting it with consumers and is another example of Ballmer’s Windows-centric mindset.

  • donzebe

    Just call it “explorer”, and forget about the “internet” part of it. Ultron is not catching.

  • TR

    Ultron would be an awful name.

    • Men’s Rights Groningen

      True, it’s a cool villain name, but it sounds so generic, Microsoft Ultron sounds more like a futuristic science project made by Microsoft Research, kind of like ”code-name: Cortana”, I think that Louise is a stupid name, they had the chance of capitalizing on the Halo fanbase, Ultron would get the 1 or 2 G.o.t.G. fanboys ‘n girls out there, still Internet Explorer has built a reputation, even Mac-fans can’t stop talking about it. :-P;

    • NGM123

      Ultron, it sounds like a brand of petrol, what on earth were they thinking.
      Whoever is in charge of marketing at MS needs to be shot, buried, dug up, re shot and buried again just in case. Marketing blunder after blunder, year after year, affecting all the brands, it simply isn’t good enough.

      • PopPop

        Or a Superhero who get killed in the first scene so the better ones can avenge his death for the rest of the movie

  • Tips_y

    Ultron?!! OMG, I’m glad the lawyers prevailed!

  • Jackal

    I’d use it, but one of the reasons i don’t is the same reason i didn’t switch from Firefox to Chrome initially….no add-ons system. When Chrome got that, i moved over.

    • Gnagis84

      i have add-ons on my IE? press the “cog” and you will see “manage add-ons” ?

  • DarthTigris

    No, Ultron will be the name of the enterprise and military version of Cortana ……..

  • Eric Meanderson

    This is all wrong… Someone wrote a story online detailing his adventures as an IT guy without any experience. All he could do was update Adobe for people and they were very impressed. Then someone asked him what his favorite browser was, and he said by mistake ”Google ultron” when he actually meant Chrome… the guy goes around telling everyone about Google Ultron, and they download it.. the problem is that Chrome auto-downloads adobe reader, so the IT guy tells everyone that Ultron is full of viruses and they should download Internet Explorer instead. Meaning that IE explorers reply was a joke/reference, they never seriously wanted to name it Ultron…

  • salos

    MS should call it Netscape Explorer.

  • Men’s Rights Groningen

    I honestly love the Internet Explorer brand, sure Internet Explorer had a lousy past… but this just shows how much work Microsoft put into it, it’s a sign of dedication to not rebrand it, I really hope that they won’t do it. (O.o)

    • NGM123

      I’m a fan of the touch version on my Surface, its sensational but IE on a PC is a dog.