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Microsoft can and should change the name of Internet Explorer

Column Finally, something else that we can agree on
Fri Aug 22 2014, 15:00

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS that Microsoft and I agree on, and all of them are part of the Xbox Halo game world.

Last week, though, we agreed about another thing, or at least close to one. Last week I read, and reported, that Microsoft's internet engineering team had considered changing the name of the firm's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser because of the terrible connotations it has acquired.

During a Reddit session a member of the team said that a name change had been brought up and that led to a long email discussion.

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

While no new name was agreed on, the developers briefly backed Ultron, until the lawyers got wind of it, and talks ended. They go on though, and the firm has not ruled out making a change at a later time, though we suspect that it will not be another name that is associated with comic book villains.

This got me thinking about alternate names. None of the ones that I came up with were suitable for printing and I am not tempted to share them. They did all share a common trait, and that was that I consider them to be less chilling, less full of foreboding than Internet Explorer.

I've come up with some more alternatives, and I'll just put them down in case anyone wants to use them. Microsoft can have them for free if it likes.

Unternet Explorer. I think this one works as an option. It is close enough to the original that any stitching on promotional polo shirts could be revised to reflect the change. This will not be an option that applies to all my alternatives.

Funternet Implorer. Again this is similar, but also different. It is different enough to suggest a radical change, and similar enough to keep fans happy. The use of Fun is rather key, too, given that even Microsoft calls IE "the browser you love to hate". I think that the familiarity is important, as plucking names out of mid-air - see Consignia - never ends well.

However, if we are to take the plucking approach we have a rainbow of opportunities at our disposal. Microsoft could call its web browser Colin if it wanted to. Most people know a Colin, and I would hope that most have had positive experiences with one.

Dave is also a good option here, but modesty prevents me from recommending that alternative.

Goose Crossing Platform is nonsensical, but quite fun. Microsoft could reason this one out by accepting that IE is something of a platform. The goose part would be harder to explain, but hey, I don't work in marketing.

More evidence of my lack of any marketing experience leads me to suggest that Microsoft could call its web browser Microsoft Zune. I think that that has a real zing to it, a positive buzz that people can get around. Zune does sound a bit crap, a bit spacey and hip.

Or Microsoft could go for something that is softer on the ear, more warming to the mind, and less likely to raspberry its way into history. A Microsoft Internet Lovely Cup of Tea has these warming connotations, but is unwieldy for a product name. It also creates a MILCT acronym. MILCT looks very open to abuse, and given the nature of the internet, perhaps it is best avoided.

Microsoft Internet Slippers, or Internet Kittens, however, both sound like snappy winners to me.

Of course the best suggestions are maybe the most obvious. Microsoft faces competition from Firefox and Chrome, so why not just call its web browser Opzilla, or Microsoft Chrox. Of the above, the latter works best for me.

So Redmond, it is over to you. µ

NB: While editing this I remembered something else that Microsoft and I agree upon... the defenestration of Clippy.


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