In-Chredge-ulous: Microsoft’s New Browser is Number Two?

Posted on April 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Web browsers with 20 Comments

According to a very specific NetMarketShare chart, Microsoft Edge is now the second most-often-used web browser on desktop. I have a few questions.

First, however, I will note that I do “trust” NetMarketShare browser usage share data and defer to it over that provided by StatCounter and others. So I’m not questioning the source.

But what I am wondering about is this: If you visit NetMarketShare’s website and use its own navigation to display the top web browsers on desktop, you’ll see that Edge is number four, with 6.2 percent usage, behind Chrome (67.72 percent), Firefox (8.49 percent) and, gasp, Internet Explorer (6.9 percent). So when saw the first report about Edge being number two and checked out the source of this claim, I was understandably confused.

However. The chart that other sites are linking to does come from NetMarketShare, and that chart shows that Edge is in second place with 7.59 percent usage, ahead of Firefox (7.19 percent) and behind Chrome (68.5 percent). Clearly there are some filters in place here, but the only obvious one is that it is just displaying the data from March (as opposed to the prior year). (And when I change the filter to just March, the data matches what others see, but the URL is different.)

A few other questions.

NetMarketShare doesn’t appear to differentiate legacy Edge from the new Edge. Can we assume this number, whichever one is correct, is a combination of both products? They are, after all, fundamentally different browsers.

And what about total web browser usage across both mobile and desktop, since the mobile market is much bigger? If you just look at mobile, filtered to that same one-month interval, you’ll find that Edge doesn’t even appear in the top 10. So browsers like Opera (.43 percent), Baidu (.99 percent), Samsung Browser (1.92 percent), and many others are much more popular than Edge. Which is the 13th most-often-used browser on mobile, with 0.03 percent usage share. Which I’d call non-existent.

Granted, Edge Mobile is not a new web browser, unlike its desktop cousin. And it’s impressive that Microsoft has already seen this kind of usage on desktop, given that the new Edge is not automatically distributed and was only “completed” in January.

But number two? Hm. I don’t know.

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