Microsoft has admitted that "negative perceptions" of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser has prompted "passionate" debate within the firm about a potential rebrand.
IE has earned a bad reputation among some users after falling victim to a string of security breaches over the past decade. Just this year, IE was affected by a bug allowing hackers to "hijack" victims' PCs. The issue was so severe it prompted Microsoft to release a security fix to XP users even though it had just ended support for the OS.
When asked if Microsoft had considered scrapping the IE name on an "Ask Me Anything" session on social media site Reddit, Microsoft engineer Jonathan Sampson admitted "it's been suggested internally".
"I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it," he said. "Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today."
Netmarketshare figures show that IE still has the majority global market share in the browser space, but its 2014 share of 58.11 per cent is far behind the figure in 2009 which almost reached 68 per cent. Over that time, rival Google's Chrome offering has shot up in popularity, with its share rising from 2.67 per cent five years ago to 17.98 per cent today.
Sampson suggested an IE rebrand had not been ruled out.
"The discussion I recall seeing was a very recent one (just a few weeks ago)," he said. "Who knows what the future holds."
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