A lot has happened during the past decade in the browser category. The one constant: Everything comes at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which formerly was dominant. That trend line continues. And, to add insult to injury, not even Microsoft is onboard with it anymore.
The biggest winner in the browser sector is Chrome. Computerworld reports that the August numbers from Net Applications put the Google browser at 29.5 percent. That represents a 1.7 percent increase over July, which was its biggest gain since last December.
Chrome’s share has grown by 9.9 percent during the past year. The only other top-five browser to be in positive territory during that period is Opera. IE declined 6.3 percent and Mozilla’s Firefox lost 3.6 percent during that period.
This is a time of transition for Microsoft as it relates to browsers. Its new entrant, Edge, was introduced in late July and is the default browser for Windows 10. At the same time, support is starting to sunset for various versions of IE.
Infopackets noted that August figures from Statcounter didn’t include Edge. Writer John Lister suggested that possible explanations are that usage was so low that it was included in the “other” category or that it was lumped in with IE. Net Applications gave Edge 2 percent market share.
Clearly, it is too early to pass judgement on Edge. Cheat Sheet’s take on Edge was that the browser is generally solid, if not exciting. The sense is that it puts Microsoft on a more even footing with the other entrants than it was with IE:
Brett Howse completed some early benchmark tests for AnandTech, and found that Edge is “right up there with the rest of the browsers in terms of performance. It is quicker in some workloads, and slower in others, but generally performance should not be an issue.” Howse found that not only is Edge faster than Internet Explorer, but that by some benchmarks, Edge is faster than Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple’s Safari.
Dan Seifert at The Verge has a long and positive review of Microsoft Edge. His conclusion:
If you're like me, and many other people, chances are you haven't given Microsoft's browsers a second thought for years. But Edge will likely change that, and though it's not quite as good or feature-complete as it should be (which really can be said for Windows 10 as a whole at this point), it's a really great start and already much better than Internet Explorer. The days of having to spend hours uninstalling toolbar after toolbar during family holidays are a thing of the past, and 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.
Meanwhile, innovation continues. ghacks.net offers an update on the Otter Browser project. The project this week released its seventh beta. The idea behind the browser is to recreate what ghacks calls “the classic Opera web browser” – version 12.x and earlier.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.