If you look at web browser market share in the U.S. over the past several years, one thing you will notice is the free fall of Microsoft’s once-dominant web browser, Internet Explorer (IE). With the release of Windows 10 this past summer and the introduction of Microsoft Edge, the company’s new web browser, the question arose: can Microsoft’s latest browser, Edge, reverse the company’s dramatic slide in U.S. web browser market share?
In 2008, IE was the king of the hill with more than 76 percent of the desktop browser market, according to StatCounter. Its nearest competitor was Firefox, accounting for just 18 percent market share. But as you know, the tech industry changes fast. Let’s fast forward to today.
Take a look at the chart below, since that highpoint in 2008, its been all downhill for IE. Today, the browser has only about 27 percent of the market—a loss of almost 50 percent over seven years.
In July, Microsoft released a brand-new browser, Edge, as part of its new Windows 10 operating system. Edge has replaced IE as the default browser on new and updated Windows devices and it features annotation tools, a reading mode, integration with Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant, and OneDrive, among other features.
Reviewers have had mixed reactions to Edge. The new browser isn’t “quite as good or feature-complete as it should be,” noted The Verge. But “it’s a really great start and already much better than Internet Explorer … Microsoft finally has a web browsing experience it can be proud of. It’s not yet a Chrome beater, but this time, Microsoft is putting up a fight.”
“In terms of browsing speed it’s brilliant, but it currently lacks power features such as Extensions,” noted TechRadar. “To that end, it has more work to do before it can persuade people to move from Chrome and Firefox.”
And speaking of extensions for Edge, users are going to have to wait a bit longer for them despite Microsoft’s initial timeline indicating they would be available in 2015. A new post on Paul Thurrott’s site indicates that extensions for Edge have been delayed until 2016. That’s a major blow to Edge and its user base.
In fact, it appears that many Windows users aren’t happy with Edge or have already given up on it. According to research firm Quantcast (as reported by PC World), Edge usage declined from about 16 percent soon after the Windows 10 release to about 12 percent as of today. Meanwhile, Google Chrome wasted no time becoming the dominant Windows 10 browser, with a market share of about 70 percent.
Former BestTechie writer, Brian Hough, says Edge “still feels like a beta (or worse!)” after using it for a few months.
Microsoft Edge is a complete joke. Been using it for months now, still feels like a beta (or worse!) https://t.co/MkFGttB791
— Brian Hough (@bwhough) October 22, 2015
Windows 10 aside, Chrome is currently the leader among all desktop browsers, with more than 44 percent market share as of October 2015. IE is a distant second (27 percent), followed by Firefox with about 15 percent.
Obviously we’re still in the early days of Edge, but at the moment, it’s not looking good. Even if Edge becomes an amazing browser rivaling Google Chrome in every possible way, it will still be an extremely tough battle to win back users. Why is that you ask? Because over the last several years, IE has developed quite a bad reputation amongst users. This bad reputation not only made using IE “uncool,” it made it frowned upon by your peers. Of course, all of that fueled the fire that resulted in the mass exodus from IE to other browsers. So if Edge fails, don’t blame Edge, blame IE.