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

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

20 responses to “In-Chredge-ulous: Microsoft’s New Browser is Number Two?”

  1. wright_is

    I'm guessing they are having to combine the numbers (Edge + Chredge) to get the desktop number that high.

    That said, I've had a number of users come up in the last couple of months, saying that sites aren't working, only to find they are still using IE! If they need a quick fix, I'll show them that old Edge is installed on their PCs, or I'll offer to install Firefox or Chrome if they are more comfortable with them, if we have a bit of time. (New Edge hasn't yet been approved, I installed it on a test system last week, but apart from the Office 365 portal, I haven't really used it yet.)

    So, I could see old-Edge getting a boost through sites not working in IE and users switching to Edge that way.

    (We have a lot of internal sites that only work with IE - Siemens' WinCC, for example - so a lot of users still only use IE, because they have to use it for certain tasks, so why not use it for everything, others have been using it since the mid-90s and haven't heard of anything else. It is mainly the new, younger workers who proactively ask for Firefox or Chrome.)

  2. JerryH

    Maybe over the next month we can add another 0.01% to that Edge on mobile. When using Android's Work Profile in combination with certain MDM rules, you have to have a browser that "understands" corporate vs personal in order for it to work naturally with clicking a link in Outlook Mobile, with copy and paste, etc. Edge mobile is the only one on Android that does this. So my phone's browser is Chrome. But the browser in the work profile is indeed Edge mobile.

  3. txag

    Edge even made it to a satire site.

  4. waethorn

    Oh, it's a "number two" alright.

  5. IanYates82

    Since an installation of new Edge replaces old Edge, I think it's fair enough to combine them. It'd be like having the Chromium Opera and the Presto engine Opera treated separately when that changeover happened.

  6. ijprest

    In your first link, the *graph* at the top also shows Edge at 7.59% (hover over the data point).

    I'm not sure why there's a difference between the graph at the top and the table at the bottom.

  7. Winner

    I'll continue using Firefox.

  8. StagyarZilDoggo

    I guess the 12-month chart has averages from the 12 months in the grid below the chart. The monthly numbers are only shown in tooltips on the chart itself.

  9. troughley

    I have to say the New Edge on both Desktop and Mobile has been a very positive experience. Better syncing of favorites this go around.

  10. madthinus

    Put another way. If a race car finishes second, but a whole lap behind, is it any good?

  11. BigM72

    I just switched to Edge on iOS after having made it my default on Windows. I quite like it.

    I'm just waiting for tab and history sync now, not sure what's taking so long.

  12. dallasnorth40

    So, The Empire Strikes Back, finally.

  13. branpurn

    Either way, not good news for Firefox, or the web really.

    Electron.. Brave, Chrome, Edge, even Opera these days... it's long been becoming a 'Chromium' world.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yeah, but this is the dream. One open target supported by all browsers, ensuring compatibility on all. Back in the 1990s, this would have been like creating a native app on Windows and having it run normally on the Mac. There's way too much worry about the underpinnings, which is where standardization SHOULD occur. This signals that the web is finally a mature platform. Browser makers can still innovate on top of that. Some good innovations include better security and privacy. There are others.
    • Greg Green

      In reply to branpurn:

      I’m jumping from Pale Moon, which is just too far behind, back to Firefox. It’s like I’m going from one leaky lifeboat to a slightly less leaky lifeboat. But at least I’ll have my privacy. I think.

      • longhorn

        In reply to Greg Green:

        It's mainly sloppy coded sites that check for browser user agent instead of checking HTML capabilities. Pale Moon main dev recently wrote an open letter to web devs asking for an open web:

        My own interpretation:

        It isn't a question if the Chromium monopoly will hurt the web - but how much - with "standards" that are made from a Chromium implementation instead of being browser agnostic.

        Google may (if web devs allow it to happen) turn HTML web into Chromium web. Do you remember that a few years ago HTML5 was supposed to do everything on the web? No Flash, no Silverlight or plug-ins like that. Don't let Chromium or Chromium-first technologies become the new plug-in.

        • red.radar

          In reply to longhorn:

          I am thinking that the fear of monoculture is slightly overstated. Linux has been this way for years. I think the issues is really a matter of governance. The Chromium Project needs to be managed by a independent third party like the linux kernel, apache web server...ect...

          Standardizing on one base has its advantages in business. makes developments quicker ...ect.

          I will say I worry it comes at the cost of innovation and bloat.