IE12's code name could be Spartan in yet another Halo reference for Microsoft

The next version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser, IE12, could be using the internal code name "Spartan". If so, this is just the latest example of the company using a code name that has a reference to their Halo Xbox game franchise.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley stated that, according to her own unnamed sources, Microsoft has chosen "Spartan" as IE12's code name. A reference to "zSpartan" was spotted in the recent screenshot and video leaks of Microsoft's next version of Windows and Foley also notes that the same code name has been spotted in a number of Microsoft online job listings. Halo fans know that Spartan is the name used in the game series to describe members of the human super-soldier program, which includes the franchise's lead character, Master Chief.


Microsoft used "Cortana", the name of Halo's main AI character, as the code name for its digital assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 and then decided to go ahead and use it for its public release as well. Even the code name for the next version of Windows, "Threshold" has a Halo reference. It is the name of a gas giant planet that has appeared in the series.

What do you think of Microsoft continuing to use Halo references for internal software code names?

Source: ZDNet

John Callaham
  • I hope IE12 does some justice to the name.
  • We know that it will
    Still people will continue using other options because they hate IE
  • Sadly yes, that's exactly what's going to happen. But then, as Microsoft fans/users its up to us to convince people to go back to IE. It has improved a lot over the years, but its still missing some crucial features which I hope gets addressed in the coming version.
  • Mobile/Touch 11: Awesome, it's my main browser for both touch and mouse, love it!
    Desktop IE: Still sucks, I prefer Chrome.
  • Modern IE doesn't work very well in my dell venue 11 pro. I experience a fair bit of lag when scrolling and its non-responsive to touches sometimes.
    Desktop IE is fine for me, but it doesn't open up the on screen keyboard when I tap on a text field.
  • Desktop IE is fine for me, but it doesn't open up the on screen keyboard when I tap on a text field.
    That's a pervasive problem with the desktop side in Windows 8, not just desktop IE, that I hope Windows 9 finally fixes.
  • Unfortunately I have to disagree. I tried to use IE when version 10 came out. It worked, despite inital google's services incompatibilities. But since I've updated to 11 it became too slow and inconsistent in a way that I had to swich back to chrome, which is even buggier, but fast.  Perhaps IE12 can put it back on track. Modern IE however works flawless.
  • Looks like i'm the only one who is facing problems with the Modern IE. 
  • Seems. Modern IE is turbo super lightening as it doest have plug-in junk or activex hooks and all that other sh*t. Its pure. Its sexy.
    It also plays more simultaneos porn streams than even Chrome, I know, I tried reall hard :) Hhrhrh
  • IE11 is faster than chrome, at least in my case. All my friends ask me why to use IE....
  • its still a programmers nighmare ... still have to write hacks/adjustments 
  • I thought that it is closest to W3 recommendations between FF, Chrome, and Safari? I'm not a web dev but isn't that something you'd guys would want or is that an "eh" sort of deal?
  • you are right, ie 11 makes it easy to use standards, but still some javascript plugins and other js base scripts require hacks. and besides, the developers tool in ie is slow as a slug, no wonder devs don't like this browser at all.
  • @Avik couldnt have explained better.  IE 11 is definitely better than IE8 and 9 ... but long way to catch up with other browsers. calling it modern doesnt make it modern. take a look at iedevloper channel website and look at the tickets open for IE
  • Completely disagree with IE 11 F12 Developer Tools.  It is FAR better than FF, and is very close to Chrome.
  • I don't use ff's dev tool, but there is a reason, why dev choose this as their primary testing browser, and thats because of firebug. The extensibility of FF is something like a Swiss army knife to dev, As for chromes dev tool, they are fast, easy to use, also extensible. But as for IE, it self has gotten faster over the year, but their dev tools is still worse because It is slow to load, the dev tool is decent, but too slow to use, i have used it myself and i know. No way people make IE their primary testing browser, unless they really have to.
  • For me, IE just takes forever to load the pages. For example, I would go to wpcentral and I can't scroll down unless I wait for like 20 seconds until all of the ads load. Web searches are fast, though.
  • I'm a huge Microsoft Fanboy and I really want to like IE, sadly though, all too often I have issues with it. It's probably the fault of the developers not paying enough attention to the Trident rendering engine, but at the end of the day I need a browser to work.
    I won't use Chrome because I loathe Google as a company but I begrudgingly use Firefox. I really hope the IE team gets it at some point and just rebuilds the browser from the ground up using WebKit
  • I hope it comes with a plugin engine, I'm an intensive plugin user.
  • The *only* plugin I keep FireFox installed for is RES, but even then I've been using my phone and Surface Pro 3 more for Reddit lately and been getting away from surfing it from a browser, so that's becoming less important to me.
  • This! That's one the reason why IE is so behind, because of not many plugins, and not as easy to use and find compared to chrome and Firefox.
  • I don't think you can do this in IE, but in chrome there's this feature where you can highlight any word or sentence and drag it to the tab bar, where it will automatically do a search on whatever you highlighted. Saves time instead of copying, pasting, and hitting enter.
  • You need not even drag it to the tab bar, just highlight a word and right click it and select "Search google for". I find that extremely useful.  
  • I just checked whether the above mentioned feature was available in IE, guess what IE11 takes it up a notch by showing three options.. Search with Bing, Translate with Bing and Map with Bing. Nice. 
  • Those options have been there since IE7.
  • Maybe Cortana will be a plugin for the Spartan
  • I hope they are going to ditch the IE name.
    Everyone just calls IE slow regardless of whether or not it is fast. the general public doesnt like or want IE, they can ditch the Nokia name and the phone on windows phone but i dont understand why wouldnt they ditch one of the most disliked names. I think its time for a change.
  • Do you think that people are going to stop criticizing IE if its name is changed? I don't think so.
  • I want a name change too. IE sounds just as old as AOL...
  • They should change the name to iExplorer and then change the icon to a partially eaten fruit.  This naming convention and icon are the key to making anything popular.  I bet over night it would become the most in demand program ever.  They would have line ups of people trying to download it and willing to pay big money for it.
  • I hope "Spartan" is not a description of the ie website full compatibility list and feature set. I'm joking. IE is my browser of choice. I agree with the comments above that perhaps there should be a name change. People automatically make assumptions. Yes, it may not be for everyone in all situations, and yes, extensions add a lot of usability and flexibility, but IE isn't as bad as it is made out. Besides, that's why a plethora of other browsers exist: User choice.
  • Guys I need some help, it's urgent. Yesterday I downloaded the office lens update which added the ability to transfer a doc in word or Pierpont to better handle the document. However, today I wanted to do that and there is no option, at least I didn't find it. Does anyone know how I do it, where I find the option???
  • Set the app mode to document (tap the "scanner" icon on the screen to change modes).  Take the picture.  When you go to save the photo to OneDrive, there is an option to save as Word or PowerPoint - it will say "Also create in OneDrive" and there are checkboxes for Word and PowerPoint.
  • By default my pics are saved on OneNote. I can do that there too, is that what you are saying? I hope there is a setting somewhere cos last time I checked none existed!
  • On the save screen there is an option to create a Word document.  The app saves it to OneNote as well.  Tap save and on the screen where you name the file is where you will see the option to create a Word doc (it is a checkbox that says "Word" next to it).  The doc is saved to Onedrive>Documents>Office Lens. Here's a screenshot:
  • Mr nelspg, you are a life saver! And this screenshot really helped! But I have a question. This is supposed to face it as word file on any language? Greek too? If it's bad written it just won't transfer sine words? Also, the word file is created on the phone , not online or both?
  • The only way I could open files in .pptx and .docx is by going to recent, then select the file I want and open them by logging onto web Office version and then saving the file to device. A little weird process.. if that helps with anything :) anything else is already said by the guy above. It's all saved up on OneDrive.
  • Post these on the forums. No idea why all of these haven't been deleted yet.
  • Cos there is nothing wrong with off-topic questions if you use common sense. Not just "Don't know the answer - immediately start "go to forums" whining. Forums are boring and slow and Mobile Nations doesn't even have a simple notification system. + Some people don't mind answering them here. Lets be honest. Give a good look to the community.
  • Thank you slovenix, I have never mentioned something off topic on the contents but this time it's urgent so please someone help! :)
  • I am loving these names the fact they come from halo is awesome. I can't wait for the new Microsoft phone code names to do with halo.
  • Check out or create a forum post
  • Bah, I'm hoping the next BSOD will have a Creeper on it. "Oops, looks like something got messed up. Reboot your system."
  • That should be ok just as long as it doesn't blow the system files out of the computer. :)
  • Ha! That'd be awesome :)
  • Nice!
  • It's time to start a petition to have them change the name of the browser from Internet Explorer to Spartan ;-). Hey, it worked for Cortana...
  • Thought the same, lol, but, alas #NotGonnaHappen
  • Haha!! I think there would be some renaming in the pipeline somewhere, they now IE has a bad rep
  • I remember them saying not that long ago that they were seriously considering a rebranding for Internet Explorer, I believe it was in a Reddit AMA.
  • Actually, it isn't a bad idea. I've often wondered if MS released IE without the branding under a dummy corporation if there would be as much vitriol over it. Like Windows 8.2 will become Windows 9, sometimes you have to accept people are prejudice against your product and move on.
  • Yes, we should go to users voice....
    And, speaking of Cortana.... I was thinking that it would be cool if Cortana could tie into my wallet and give me bank balances if I asked her... That would be awesome!
  • NO. They need to stop using the Halo IP. If they keep it up Halo and everything in it will be synonymous with Microsoft. NOT a good decision.
  • What IE needs to do is support little pages details like "show replies" on facebook and stuff like that and add some cool features from Mozilla and Chrome and voilá. That with the speed of IE would finally make a decent IE experience. (It's not bad now, but it could be better)
  • Stick with ie, Microsoft needs brand unity not rebranding. The point of threshold is to make the platform easier to recognize
  • Recognizable for who? An aging generation?
    MS must think long term, and some of its products sound ancient....
    Chrome........ Then we have "Internet Explorer"
    It might as well be called "World Wide Web Page Manager"... Sounds like it's from a similar era..
    Part of MS's biggest problem with perception, and being with the times, is it's fans... We need to get out of our 25 year old comfort zone, people.
  • Totally agree with Rodneyej. They're quick to rebrand other Microsoft products, but not "Internet Explorer", the one that needs a new name ASAP.
  • Lol❗ Yes.. That's the one name they have left that sounds too 90's tech... Seriously needs a logo overhaul as well.
  • Yes please.
  • It sounds ancient because it has the word 'internet' in it?
  • Yes... Exactly.. But, the Explorer part is played out as well... It needs a serious name change. And, Spartan could work.... Even if they called it IE-Spartan that would at least signify something new and different......
    What MS fans fail to realize is that the average consumer doesn't know, or care, about version numbers.... If they use IE6 and it sucked, then anything named IE sucks... In their head IE sucks, so IE sucks, and you can't blame them because that's perfectly logical thinking.... Heck, not even everyone who works for MS, and has a WP device, can tell you what version IE is running on their phone...... We need a name change❗
  • "Then we have "Internet Explorer"" well call it IE, it sounds better that way. "Part of MS's biggest problem with perception." The part of the ms's IE flaws are:
    1. desktop ie simply sucks.
    2. No bookmark, tab sync between devices (desktop version)
    3. No extensions!! no one can live without it, (i love them)
    4. IE desktop context menu is worst, it's like 10 story tall, filled with useless options! No pointing in changing name if the browser simply sucks :(
  • But, it doesn't matter if those issues didn't exist.. It's still IE to the average consumer.... That's why it needs a name change, and serious marketing campaign..
  • IE is still IE because of ms's fault, ie7,8,9 is the worst browser i have ever seen in my life! Even if they change the name and do some serious marketing, people will use it, and find out that the browser can't do even simplest task. and that brand name would be problem again. I would still love a new name for IE, but for now they should focus on getting some basic things ready.
  • I hope they release Banshee, Prophet, and Gravemind products soon. :D Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Banshee Browser....
  • Banshee Browser....
    Sounds awesome TBH!
  • If something gets named Arbiter, I'm down. If something gets named 343 Guilty Spark, I'm done.
  • I'm with you on Arbiter..
  • I hope ie12 fixes my touch browser being high jacked by unclosable tabs even with pop up block on. Also fix the issue where "sliding" back takes the browser 30+ second.
  • I just want IE12 to be smoother and not depend that heavily on I/O performance. IE11 also seems to forget sessions a lot these days. Maybe IE12 can fix this too.   And as always, I expect more performance improvements.
  • ^this
  • Exactly that's what I thought!
    it should be interesting :-D
  • The names are wonderful, just wish they perform as their name suggests
  • I love how MSFT is actually becoming a "cool" brand again! It's had this old grandpa status for way to long now haha
  • This name is only for internal use.... And, I hate to be negative, but exactly who is MS becoming cool with? The average consumer? Not yet...
    But, we should suggest for MS to use these internal code names because they are cool, and modern, and consumers really don't want to buy something they recognized from two decades ago.
  • Why are you always sideways with everything? Haha I know its only an internal codename. I was referring to the company as a brand "Microsoft" is getting with the tones and people are realizing it.
    As for your question of who is finding out cool? Well, in Stellenbosch (one of South Africa largest university's) MSFT and their new products are praised by the vast majority for their innovation and fun modern looking devices and software. I can't speak for wherever you come from, but here it's catching on. Keep in mind that (from what i can see) Americans has a huge prejudice against anything MSFT, so just because its not catching on there doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't like it.
  • Well said. Americans too often think that they are the world, where they really are only a small part of the world.
  • Not true... As far as market share is concerned American is significantly important... Pull out the map and look at how big it is.. The fact is that all Americans use the same set of rules for services, and the same carriers across the entire country, which makes it easier for companies like MS to distribute goods with using less outlets, and avoiding as many political hurdles as possible That's why American is so important, and so focused on by companies like MS ....
    Over 316.13 million people in America who have an easy way to get ahold of a smartphone.... I'm not saying that there aren't much higher population densities elsewhere, but when you look at political hurdles, it's no wonder why MS debuts it's products on their homeland first... .3billon people isn't a bad start to get you products recognized... Especially when you know other countries politics are going to get in the way.....
  • No one is disputing the importance of the US Rod. All we're saying is that just because the product isn't 'in the now' with you guys, doesn't mean that the rest of the world doesn't love it. So your insinuation that MSFT doesn't have a 'cool' reputation is only valid in the US because of the prejudice found there, (once again I'm saying that as a viewer from outside the US) and maybe a few select others. Places such as South Africa MSFT is gaining major ground in many sectors and it seems like the UK, Europe, India and many other are also following that trend.
  • Right.. Ok. Understood.. I didn't focus on that point.. I can agree with that.
  • Extensions, maybe themes, and faster browsing is crucial to ie right now it's the reason why ppl use Firefox and chrome
  • YAWN.... HALO.... YAWN....
  • Lumia 117 aka Lumia John !
  • Code names don't always translate into performance and features, but it would be nice if it does
  • That would sound pretty cool. Really hope they would consider the name " Spartan Explorer". LOL!
  • Why not call it Spartan... Would be a cool browser name! Right?
  • Yes❗
  • Yes yes yes yes
  • Someone mentioned the Banshee fighter from Halo above. Personally I think Banshee (as in "screaming fast like a Banshee!") sounds awesome and far better than "plain" old Spartan.
  • Give me the option to pin tabs and actually reopen my last used tabs and I'd probably switch to IE. I gave IE11 a go but it would never remember my tabs despite the option being ticked which got really annoying.
  • What's a Spartan?
  • Did you read?
  • Human super-soldier on Halo.
  • In reality, a person from the Greek city Sparta or the ancient Greek city-state.
  • Chakra and Trident are superior to webkit,.....only if MS updated them every month or 2 instead of every year or 2
  • Or it could just be a reference to a warrior from the ancient city of Sparta.
  • Hey Swimswim where did you get that pic for your logo? That's really awesome!
  • IE12 should be made available fr WPhone & better than Google Chrome...
  • They should rebuild IE interface, because it still looks like from XP era. Also some tweaks to catch up with more popular ones like Firefox or Chrome and voilá!
  • I wish Microsoft would just rebuild IE entirely. Just doesn't make sense they're software GIANTS and have the worst browser on all platforms. - Stoo Pid
  • That awkward moment where IE11 opens a page faster than your mate using Chrome on the same network with a more powerful PC....
  • Pretty much irrelevant. Except that MS big shots are still proper geeks and that is actually reassuring.
  • Spartan was also used for aoe:o
  • I think it's good for marketing purposes. It would be even better if they really make IE12 great (better plug-in options, more customizable browser), no matter what it's internal name is. As far i'm concerned, it's internal name could be McHype, but if they deliver excellent web browser I would use it even more, as anybody out there I believe!
    And make WP version of current or future IE beter also, would you, Microsoft? :-)
  • I hope these awesome kick ass references live up to their name and are really good products and software
  • I think it's awesome that they are using Halo references
  • Even AoE Online was codenamed spartan!! So they are recycling codenames now..
  • Just get rid of the IE name altogether. Spartan sounds like a cooler browser.
  • Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Spartan. I like it. Meshes better with other available browsers and it erases the negative tint that IE creates in peoples mind from days of yore.
  • This is madness
  • Halo is one of the very few MS related products that doesn't have any mass media negative percetption so the more they use it the better.
  • No, the opposite will happen. Oversaturation does nothing but ruin a good thing.
  • So since the merger of all the versions of Windows with Threshold, that means that the full IE12 flash enabled browser is going to be running on Windows phones, correct?
  • 1. Better history view!!! Like calendar or something like Maxton 2. keep closed tabs saved after ie closes 3. sync everything between ie desktop and touch Sorry for my English
  • Well it if comes well endowed, I have no qualms.
  • Yes Microsoft should ride this Halo bandwagon till the wheels come off.
  • It also needs versions on iOS, OSX and Android. One of the selling points of Chrome is that it is cross platform and your stuff follows you from device to device.
  • Facking love it. Its cool and they need to keep it up.
  • Just call it Spartan for real. IE has a not so terrific stigma attached. Spartan sounds more along the lines of Safari, Mozilla, Opera. Reboot it MS. It could be a good thing. Maybe.
  • Rename IE make it Spartan and give it full Cortana integration even add a Cortana button on the browser its self let you dictate web pages and give you search and suggestions all Cortana to add webpages to favorites or pin to start screen let Cortana read the web page to you if you want that would be awesome.
  • I aslo think it would be cool if they integrated Cortana into outlook so where it world activate when you get a email and say somethin like this sir you have a email from so and so what do you want me to and you can say read it or delete it or mark as read or add to spam folder or flag or move to important folder ect ect that would be awesome
  • Just allow native extensions and I'll be happy with IE12
  • oh god, please add bookmark, tab sync in ie11 desktop!! why don't they implement such a basic useful function!
  • Spartan Browser.... Sounds nice, but what about the logo? I personally like the IE logo in WP. But if they change it, I wouldn't mind it.
  • I like it. I'm a Halo fan and I'm fond of Microsoft so the names work for me.
  • What about the loads of Halo fans that like halo who don't like MS? There are a lot out there. And if anyone thinks the Xbox would have been so successful if named something like Windows Console or MS Console they are delusional. Most people outside of these forums don't paint MS in grand light like we do. Halo is fantastic, why make it synonymous with its less-lovable, often blundering corporate owner?
  • "Why?" I say why not? Most people that don't get the reference don't care. The ones that figure it out won't care either because if they cared, they'd know about it already. Again. Why not? It's just a name, in a long line of names we know about and of ones yet to come. I'm not even sure I care anymore.
  • When you click a link it shall say "AHOO" If you install an unauthorised software it shall say "THIS IS MADNESS" If a website crashes it shall kick it in the giant pit of death yelling"THIS IS SPARTA"
  • Internet Spartan
  • It's pretty simple, until there's proper extension support like Chrome and Firefox, I will never use IE as my main browser.
  • Call it "Bing Platinum" haha
  • Microsoft wants to regain it's strength, I suppose crush Chrome market so it has more then 70% of the market ! I believe you'll see the Microsoft of yesterday come back, which may shake up Apple, that I love :)