The reason it seems that the browser wars were ages ago is that they were – especially if time is counted in “telecom years.”
The industry is on the verge of a major step toward the eventual retirement of Internet Explorer, the winner of that set of battles. Only one version -- IE11 – will be widely supported after January 12, 2016, according to Network World.
Microsoft said in August 2014 that on January 12 of next year users who want support will need IE11 or Edge. The exceptions will be that IE9 will be supported on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, and IE10 will be supported on Windows Server 2012. The unsupported versions will still work, of course, but updates won’t be issued, nor will technical assistance be available.
Things are not going smoothly, however. Softpedia reports on numbers from Net Applications that suggest that the uptake of Edge likely is causing consternation for the folks in Redmond. The site says that today only 2.91 percent of PCs are running Edge, which is only an incremental gain from the 2.66 percent using it in October.
The story goes through the numbers for various versions of Microsoft browsers and its competitors and makes the point that though it has lost the limelight, IE is still the most popular browser with a combined 24.76 percent of the market. Google Chrome is second at 21.20 percent.
Overall, the coverage points to an upward climb for Edge. The new browser, Softpedia suggests, won’t be helped by the calendar:
Unfortunately, Microsoft Edge still has a long way to go to become a powerful browser alternative for Windows 10 users, but the upcoming improvements planned by Microsoft will certainly help. Unfortunately, extension support, which is the most anticipated update, won’t be here by summer of 2016.
At the end of the day, however, the fate of Edge will be decided by how good it is. Michaelson Gabriel at Dazeinfo offered his take late last month. The review is mixed, but more positive than negative. The negatives seem to be the type that new software products face and are likely to be addressed over the long run. Gabriel doesn’t answer the question posed in the headline (“Can Microsoft Edge Compete with Chrome, Firefox, Safari Browsers?”), but does seem to be counting Edge as a player:
Microsoft has generated much enthusiasm with its release of the all-new Edge browser. Although the application offers important enhancements for security and usability, many users might feel limited by the browser’s inability to use extensions. If you want the fastest browser on the market, you should give Edge a try and anticipate future feature enhancements.
Microsoft, of course, will never be the browser king again, and its executives no doubt realize this. However, they naturally want to create a strong niche for Edge. We’ll soon begin to find out in earnest if it has one.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.