Chrome Crushing It In The Browser Wars While Edge Continues To Sputter

Google Chrome

Despite all the effort Microsoft is expending in getting Internet users to try out and stick with its Edge browser, Chrome continues to the popular choice. Even worse for Microsoft, Chrome's popularity is growing—it now accounts for more than half of all desktop browser usage and has nearly double the market share of Edge and Internet Explorer combined.

Market research firm Net Applications has Chrome sitting pretty with a 54.99 percent share of the desktop browser market, up from 31.12 percent at this moment a year ago, while Internet Explorer and Edge combine for 28.39 percent and Firefox stuck at around 11 percent. Even more interesting is that when Windows 10 launched to the public at the end of July 2015, Chrome had a 27.82 percent share of the market while Internet Explorer still dominated the landscape with a 54 percent share. Now the script has flipped.

Internet Explorer was already on a downward trajectory when Windows 10 released a little over a year ago. Microsoft hoped that web users at large would embrace Edge, a lighter weight browser it built for Windows 10. Instead, the data showed that after a tryout period, users ended up going back to whichever browser they were using previously.
The good news for Microsoft is that all is not lost. Part of the reason Edge didn't catch on is because Microsoft waited until the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to add support for extensions, and only then in limited capacity—as of this writing, there is a grand total of 16 extensions available for Edge.

Extension support is something that should have shipped with Edge from the beginning. Instead, Microsoft missed an opportunity to lure more users back when the hype surrounding Edge was off the charts. Now here we are more than a year later with Edge accounting for 5.26 percent of the desktop browser market, up ever-so-slightly from 5.16 percent the past two months and 5.09 percent the two months before that.

Edge is sputtering, but it hasn't stalled out. Microsoft can build upon that, assuming it's still interested. In the past, dominating the web meant having control over web standards, though with players at large adopting HTML5, that is less of a concern. However, there are still lots of ad dollars to be had through search, hence why Google was paying Mozilla $300 million annually to be the default search in Firefox until Mozilla dumped Google for Yahoo in 2014.

So, what now? Microsoft seems more focused in other market opportunities, things like artificial intelligence and machine learning, but it hasn't given up on Edge. Otherwise it wouldn't risk ticking users off with popup ads in Windows 10 imploring them to give Edge a try.