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Scott M. Fulton III, IDG News Service via PC WORLD

RICHMOND, Washington (PCWorld.com)—Whether we saw Internet Explorer 12 or a curious new alternative browser from Microsoft remains unknown, even after the conclusion of Wednesday’s Windows 10 preview event in Redmond, Washington.

Following the event, reporters were given hands-on demonstrations of the next Windows 10 build to be distributed to testers.

During the keynote session Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for operating systems, introduced a different Web browser, calling it by its code name, “Spartan.” It came as little surprise to many reporters in the room who had already seen leaked screenshots. It’s a more minimalist browser, but not as obtuse and unfamiliar as the strange “Metro-style” browser that accompanied the first Windows 8.

What was surprising was the lack of a clear objective for Spartan. It may, or may not, replace Internet Explorer 11; and it may, or may not, become Internet Explorer 12.

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