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Edge's weak adoption contributes to Microsoft's declining browser share

The failure of Microsoft's Edge to attract users of the new Windows 10 operating system has contributed to the company's overall decline in browser share, analysis of recently-published data shows.

According to several metrics sources, Edge's share of the global Windows 10 user base was significantly lower in January than was Internet Explorer's (IE) share of all Windows users, signaling that Microsoft has not been able to maintain the historical -- or even current -- percentages of Windows customers on its newest browser.

Last month, Edge's share of all Windows 10 users was 26% in U.S.-based analytics firm Net Applications' estimate. That was a decrease of two percentage points from December, and 10 points lower than in September.

(Note: Computerworld's claim that Edge's share of Windows 10 dropped to 23% in December -- reported that month -- was flawed due to a calculation error.)

In comparison, Net Applications' IE-only share of all Windows users was a much more substantial 48%, or nearly double that of Edge on Windows 10. In other words, almost half of all Windows users ran a version of IE last month, while just over one-fourth of Windows 10 users ran Edge.

Because Edge works only on Windows 10, and IE only on Windows, it's relatively easy to calculate the percentages. That's not the case with other browsers, including Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox, which run on multiple editions of Windows and on rival operating systems, such as Apple's OS X.

Other measurement sources portrayed the same situation: Edge has not held up its side of the bargain for Microsoft.

Irish vendor StatCounter, for example, pegged January's Edge global share of Windows 10 at 13%, while IE's share of all Windows was a more substantial 19%.

A third source, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), tagged Edge's share of Windows 10 for January at 24%, up one point from December. According to DAP, the IE-only share of all Windows traffic was 40%.

DAP collects and collates visits to more than 4,000 websites on over 400 different domains maintained by U.S. government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most, but not all, of the traffic DAP measures originates within the U.S.

The difference between Edge's poor showing and IE's relative success in holding onto Windows users has played a part in the precipitous decline in Microsoft's overall browser share during the past year.

If Edge had held onto Windows 10 users at a rate identical to IE's, Microsoft's total browser share would have been about one-and-a-half percentage points higher in Net Applications' January tally, or 48.4%, rather than the actual 46.9%.

That 1.5-point difference may not seem significant on its own, but it represented more than 13% of Microsoft's overall decline in browser user share over the last 12 months.

Data: Digital Analytics Program, Net Applications, StatCounter.

Three analytics sources report that Microsoft's Edge was run by between 13% and 26% of Windows 10 users in January, a lower share than IE's on all Windows editions.

IDG Insider

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