Microsoft is secretly developing a new web browser to replace Internet Explorer, it has been claimed.
Experts say the new browser, codenamed Spartan, will be unveiled on January 21st when Microsoft shows off Windows 10 for the first time.
It is believed the new browser will look more like Google's Chrome browser, and be faster than IE.
'Microsoft is building a new browser, codenamed Spartan, which is not IE 12 -- at least according to a couple of sources of mine,' said Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET.
Thomas Nigro, a Microsoft Student Partner lead and developer of the modern version of VLC a media playing app, claimed on Twitter earlier this month that he heard Microsoft was building a brand-new browser.
'However, if my sources are right, Spartan is not IE 12.
'Instead, Spartan is a new, light-weight browser Microsoft is building.'
It is believed Windows 10 will ship with both Spartan and IE 11 to ensure compatibility with all web sites.
Microsoft is set to show off the next major version of its Windows software at a January event at its Redmond HQ, where Trident could be revealed.
However it has already admitted its release has already been delayed until fall 2015.
Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told Japanese news service Nikkei on Wednesday that the new system would be released 'early next fall.'
Microsoft has not publicly set a firm timetable for the release of Windows 10, but only last week suggested the possibility of an earlier release.
The keynote from the day-long event on January 21 will be live streamed.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Windows execs Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore, and Xbox chief Phil Spencer will be speaking.
The event will focus on the 'Windows 10 consumer experience,' a spokesperson confirmed.
Earlier this year Microsoft was derided for 'missing one' when it announced it has decided to jump straight to version 10 of its Windows software in a bid to convince consumers the software is different from current versions.
The firm announced the latest version of its Windows operating system, called Windows 10, at an event in San Francisco.
The firm admitted the software was 'at a threshold' after the poorly received Windows 8.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Windows chief said: 'There's about one and a half billion people using Windows today.
'Devices outnumber people.
'Windows is at a threshold and now it's time for a new Windows.
'Our new Windows must be built from the ground up for a mobile first, cloud first world.
'It wouldn't be right to call it Windows 9.'
Microsoft says the new operating system will run on the 'broadest types of devices ever' and sees the companies various app stores merged into one platform, called the One Store.
This will cover all of the company's smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
Myerson said Windows 10 will be 'a whole new generation' and, as expected, will work across a variety of devices - from phones to gaming consoles.
It also marks the return of the Start Menu, which had been removed from Windows 8.
In addition to offering a list of the user's favourite applications, the menu also brings up resizable tiles - similar to those featured in Windows 8's touch-centric interface - on PCs and tablets.
The current version, Windows 8, has been widely derided for forcing radical behavioral changes.
Microsoft is restoring some of the more traditional ways of doing things and promises that Windows 10 will be familiar for users regardless of which version of Windows they are now using.
'Windows 10 will deliver the right experience, at the right time.
'Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform, ever,' said Mr Myerson.
'We're delivering one application platform. One store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across all of these devices.'
The technology giant had been expected to announce an update to its flagship Windows software after the previous upgrade, Windows 8, which saw a major overhaul of the interface and functionality, received mixed reviews within the user community.
Microsoft says its new version of Windows will be 'familiar' and compatible with existing management systems already in use around the world.
Mr Myerson also announced the launch of the Windows Insider Program, which will allow Microsoft fans and users to get early versions of the new software and become part of the development team by testing Windows 10 and suggesting improvements.
The service will launch tomorrow.
'We're inviting our enthusiastic fans to evaluate it with us.
'We know they're a vocal bunch.'
Windows 10 was confirmed to launch 'later in the year in 2015'.
For instance, the start menu in Windows 10 will appear similar to what's found in Windows 7, but tiles opening to the side will resemble what's found in Windows 8.
Joe Belfiore, a Microsoft executive who oversees Windows design and evolution, said Windows 10 will offer 'the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the benefits that exist in Windows 8' to help business users make the transition.
Belfiore said that the company was going 'back to basics' with Windows 10, and confirmed that the famous Start menu, which was removed from Windows 8, would be returning.
'We're looking to find the balance, so that all the Windows 7 users get a familiar experience on the devices they already have,' he said.
'It gives the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the elements of Windows 8.'
He said that going from Windows 8 to Windows 10 is like going from a Prius to a Tesla.
'They don't have to learn any new way to drive.'
Mr Belfiore also confirmed that Windows 10 would be compatible with both traditional and touch-based device users like tablets through a new task view with buttons scaled up so that they're more friendly to those on touchscreen devices.
Users on hybrid devices like the Surface Pro tablet will be able to jump between and keyboard and touchscreen modes, with Microsoft demonstrating how the interface will change as you do.
Although the new software won't be formally released until next year, analysts already consider its success crucial for Microsoft and new CEO Satya Nadella.
The new software represents an attempt to step back from the radical redesign that alienated many PC users when Windows 8 was introduced two years ago.
However, it is not a complete retreat from Microsoft's goal of bridging the gap between PCs and mobile devices: It still has touch-screen functions and strives to create a familiar experience for Windows users who switch between desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.
Microsoft currently has three main systems - Windows 8 for traditional computers and tablets, Windows Phone 8 for cellphones and Xbox for its gaming console.
By unifying the underlying systems, software developers will be able to create apps for the various devices more easily.
Consumers will also be able to switch devices more easily and avoid having to buy the same apps multiple times.
The Bill Gates-founded company is pushing to challenge the likes of Apple across multiple platforms, but remains the market leader when it comes to desktop computing.
The company has also launched a Windows Phone and Windows-powered tablet, the Surface, in recent years as they look to challenge the iPhone and iPad, as well as Google's Android platform.
- Daily Mail