Chrome Could Soon Surpass IE and Edge as Web's Top Browser
Microsoft could soon fall to second place behind Google in browser market share, according to new data from Web analytics firm Net Applications. The firm’s data shows that Microsoft’s share of the browser market from the combined use of Internet Explorer and the new Edge browser fell to 43.4 percent in March, putting Chrome within striking distance at 39.09 percent.
That’s a far cry from where the two companies stood last year. In May, Microsoft’s two browsers represented a combined 55.15 percent of the market, while Chrome (pictured above) was well behind with 26.37 percent. If Microsoft’s browsers keep ceding market share at this rate, Chrome could take the top spot in as little as two months.
Did Forcing the Upgrade Backfire?
Of course, the move may not be terribly surprising given that Microsoft stopped supporting Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 at the beginning of last year. The company also informed users that they would have to upgrade their browsers by January of this year.
While Microsoft undoubtedly hoped that most users would upgrade to either IE 11 or start using Edge, the default browser on Windows 10, it seems many users have decided to switch to other browsers instead, particularly Chrome.
The Google browser seems to have been the main, and practically only, beneficiary of Microsoft’s browser woes. Mozilla's Firefox also lost market share March, dropping 1.1 percent to 10.5 percent. Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera browser were level in March with 4.9 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
A Work in Progress
Although popular, Internet Explorer was not one of the most advanced browsers on the market, with competitors like Firefox and Chrome offering better browsing experiences, security, and functionality. But IE benefited greatly from being the pre-installed browser on millions of PCs, particularly those used in the workplace.
Microsoft appeared to have finally realized the inferiority of IE and thus introduced Edge as part of the new Windows 10 operating system. Edge is a distinctly different beast than IE, both in terms of performance and user interface.
But despite the company’s decision to invest in developing a modern browser, Edge may still have been brought to market before it was fully ready. In particular, the browser doesn’t fully support extensions, making it much less functional than Chrome.
However, last month, after a three-month delay, Microsoft released the latest build of its Windows 10-based Edge browser, which includes some eagerly awaited extensions. Build 14291 was released for testing by developers.
Three extensions were offered for testing, including Microsoft Translator with more than 50 languages, the Reddit enhancement suite, and Mouse Gestures. Each can be manually installed, and thanks to new extensions support, the extensions can be installed in Google Chrome as well. Developers’ Chrome extensions can also be ported to Edge.
Although support for extensions was due at the end of last year, it was delayed. Microsoft didn’t say how long the extensions will be tested by developers before they’re released to all Windows 10 users.
Microsoft has also implied that a number of other key features for the Edge browser may be arriving later this year. The company will be bringing out an update to Windows 10 called Redstone in the summer, which could include a number of improvements to Edge.
Image Credit: Chrome browser screenshot and logo via Google.