On almost any version of Windows, I can run Chrome and pass in the --app flag and it will run the site as if it were its own application. It removes things like the address bar and most of the other bits that someone would expect a browser should have.
For every large program, there are many more smaller programs that don't need their critical-path written in hand-tuned C++ for them to perform their job well.
Any vendor can interpret whatever flags they want into their browser. Including loading splash screens, application icons, etc. Progressive enhancement is a fundamental idea behind many of todays web based user facing frameworks, like jQueryMoble.
Microsoft changes their application framework strategies more often than many people change their underpants. odbc, dao, ole db, ado, ado.net, linq-to-sql, entity framework, anyone?