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Microsoft is equipping Windows 10 with two browsers: Spartan and IE

Microsoft has spilled some more details on the web browsing situation with the upcoming Windows 10, and the news is that Internet Explorer isn’t being killed off (not quite yet, anyway).

As you’re probably aware, Windows 10 will come with a new browser, Spartan, built on a new rendering engine. It offers integrated Cortana (to intelligently make suggestions when you’re searching the web), and features like a reading mode, along with the ability to scribble notes on web pages and share them.

Like Microsoft’s new universal apps, Spartan is also designed to work slickly across all devices from PCs down to smartphones.

However, Internet Explorer has not been canned, and will still be present in Windows 10 – kind of.

Microsoft explains in a blog post (spotted by Trusted Reviews) that Spartan will use its new rendering engine for modern websites, but it will also incorporate the IE11 engine to view legacy enterprise websites.

Redmond noted: “This approach provides both a strong compatibility guarantee for legacy enterprise web sites and a forward looking interoperable web standards promise.”

So Spartan is fine for everything, then? Well, not quite, because Microsoft goes on to note that some enterprise legacy sites use older tech like custom ActiveX controls which are designed for IE only. And to cater for these, the Internet Explorer browser will still be available on Windows 10 – presumably as an optional installation, but Microsoft doesn’t make that clear.

To muddy the waters further, Internet Explorer on Windows 10 will use the “same dual rendering engines as Spartan”. So, presumably Spartan is fine for most old sites, except it can’t cope with old tech like ActiveX controls and Browser Helper Objects, and in those cases you’ll need Internet Explorer.

It’s all far from clear at this point, but the upshot seems to be two browsers will be on board Windows 10, which seems a shame as that’s exactly the sort of schizophrenic confusion Microsoft happily waded into with Windows 8, and we thought it was now trying to avoid at all costs.