does Microsoft care about Edge?

66

the new version of Edge is so good but there are still many little issues, which makes me wonder, does Microsoft really care about Edge and take it seriously? Is it a high priority for them? I would hope so because having no real alternative to Chrome would be extremely bad for many reasons. Edge has such potential, I hope they are all in with it

Comments (66)

66 responses to “does Microsoft care about Edge?”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    I wonder the same. Given how much work this thing needs, I'm curious Microsoft hasn't pulled it out of Windows 10 and let it improve at a faster pace.

    • Bdsrev

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      It's also strange because surely Edge is more important to Microsoft than all of the useless and strange little things they've been adding to Windows 10 recently. They should take all those people off the silly useless features and make them work on Edge, there are a lot of issues that need to be fixed

    • arunphilip

      In reply to paul-thurrott:


      Paul - on this point, you (and others) have been calling for Microsoft to decouple Edge feature updates from the twice-a-year Windows 10 feature updates. It's 3 years since Windows 10 came out, and Edge is still locked in with the OS for feature updates.


      Is there any indication from Microsoft as to why they haven't done so yet, or don't intend to at all?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Maybe a useless tangent, but could Edge be removed from Windows? I suppose it could be moved to the MSFT Store but remain bundled with Windows in install media/ISOs. However, would that mean Edge could be removed after installing Windows? If it couldn't be removed after installing Windows 10, and it could only run under Windows 10, and the MSFT Store were only available to PCs running Windows 10, who'd need Edge in the Store?

      I figure MSFT prefers every Windows 10 PC has Edge, with no exceptions, and building Edge into Windows 10 is the most robust alternative given there should be no way to remove it.

    • John Scott

      In reply to paul-thurrott: Paul, I think Edge is tied into Windows and Microsoft's plans deeper then we know. Could be hard to change Edge now given that it may significantly affect other things in the works. If that's the case, Microsoft will just have to ride it out and hope Edge get's more users.


  2. dcdevito

    The world has moved on, everyone uses Chrome - and no one cares about anything else. Edge is too little, way too late.

    • wright_is

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Where I work, about 10% use Chrome, the rest use Firefox.

    • PhilipVasta

      In reply to dcdevito:

      You're right, but it's sad to me that this is the case. Not saying Edge couldn't improve, but the fact that Chrome is so dominant isn't healthy in the long run for consumers, no matter your browser preference. And, honestly... your average person could absolutely use Edge and be fine, and this has been the case for at least a couple years. I'm sorry, I know us nerds like to think otherwise, that it only *just* got to basic usability. That simply isn't true. Normal people are super basic - they read email, watch youtube, and go to CNN or whatever. Anecdotally, my dad, a completely average computer user, has been using Edge since Windows 10 came out, and has never had any complaints about it. Don't get me wrong, I get that Chrome works great, and the question sort of becomes "Why wouldn't you just use Chrome?". Speaking more broadly, Google does make some excellent, free products. But it's a little uncomfortable to me that, whereas in other industries there are tons of competitors (autos, laptop makers, etc), people will just default to Google products, especially when there's no competition, but more alarmingly even when there *is*. Google Maps, dominant. Gmail, dominant. Chrome, dominant. Search, dominant.

       

      I do think Google has made some amazing, world-changing services - most of which I use to some extent - but yikes they're too big.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to PhilipVasta:

        Don't personalize this. I use Google Chrome because it's the best browser. Period. I'm not going to limit myself because I think they're too big. Or because I don't like certain things they do. It's a choice.


        Also, a Microsoft guy complaining about Google market dominance is ... well, you know. :)

        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          “Don't personalize this. I use Google Chrome because it's the best browser. Period.”


          But is it, though? It is probably fair to say it has the lion’s share of extensions and it is definitely the “de facto” standard.


          But technology-wise, I’m not convinced. Five years ago I would say hands-down it was king.


          But since then it has gotten bloated and most of the other browsers have caught up in features.


          And of course there are the “privacy concerns” people. Which is valid. I’m not one who thinks Google are evil or irresponsible. But I’m not going to say someone else is wrong about how they feel.


          Even web development is perfectly fine in Safari or Firefox. Hell, even Internet Explorer had perfectly decent dev tools. (This is one area I haven’t checked with Edge though.)


          At this point the only reason I dev with Chrome is because I have to (it is generally the “standard” browser to support.


          But I have a lot of “industry contacts”, working in companies with names you’d recognize, and there are growing factions that aren’t convinced that Chrome is the king.


          I was honestly pretty surprised when I started hearing about this about a year ago. I thought I was part of a very small minority that felt like Chrome had gotten too big and fallen off its pedestal.





        • PhilipVasta

          In reply to paul-thurrott:


          Paul, I'm not personalizing this. I appreciate your pragmatism, and I'm glad Chrome works well for you. Obviously though, that doesn't mean Chrome is necessarily the "best" browser for any one person, or even most people. I could almost guarantee you that most people download Chrome out of habit and because it's Google, not for any particular merits of Chrome. For most people Edge and Chrome are functionally identical.

           

          And regarding your personal choice to use Chrome, that's totally fine. I use it too. All I'm saying is that it's not great that Google wields so much power. Products and services they make are the default choice in so many categories that you can't get away from using Google. They make great stuff, to be sure, but I still don't think their dominance is healthy overall.


          • anchovylover

            In reply to PhilipVasta:

            You're complaining that Google Chrome has 66% desktop market share while MS Windows holds around 90% OS market share.

            • PhilipVasta

              In reply to anchovylover:

              I'm not complaining. And you’re right about Windows - it'd be better if there was a more diverse market. But… I'd say your comparison to Windows is also a little unfair. Windows is a legacy productivity platform that's pretty much capped at how big it's going to get, and doesn't play such a central role in people's lives anymore. Google serves many more people, in a more pervasive way. I don't mean that to sound negative, it's just the nature of mobile/web technology in people's lives.

              • hrlngrv

                In reply to PhilipVasta:

                People have choices for alternatives to the services Google provides. MSFT provides alternatives to many. For online work applications, Zoho is strutting its stuff these days with TV ads, and there are some others. Lots of choices for online storage.

                If Google plays a pervasive role, it's because so many people choose to use its services rather than the alternatives. If many people are unaware of the alternatives because they've been using Google's services for years and just don't bother to look into alternatives, that's the benefit Google derives from being either first or best for long enough that nearly all people forget first.

                • Tony Barrett

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  It wasn't that long ago people were saying the same about Microsoft - "using Microsoft services and applications because they were unaware of alternatives". Many still are, because it's what they've always used, and now there are alternatives. The tables have now turned, and MS are playing catchup because they took there eye of the ball and thought they were too big and powerful for this to happen. How the tables have turned.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to dcdevito:

      IMO, fortunately most Mac, iPhone and iPad users use Safari, and even on PCs more generally, Chrome only has about 62% user share per Netmarketshare/66% user share per StatCounter. Competition is good, so I like it that IE, Firefox, Safari and even Edge and Opera have significant if much lower user shares. Gotta wonder what MSFT thinks about IE still having about 3 times as many users as Edge.

  3. hometoy

    I use Edge as default only because it opens up quicker than Chrome or Firefox, and overall it isn't bad. It's been getting better for stability, not freezing up my system and displaying the page correctly. Video, however, is still stuttering and falling apart so I switch to Chrome for that (and the extensions). In the beginning it was horrible.


    Firefox fits in nicely between the two of them but if I am going to add the time it takes to open up and the higher resource requirement then I am going to want the extensions too and with the more recent updates, some of my key extensions are no longer available.


    I do like how Edge can easily pin pages to the Start menu. It's a dumb, small little feature but is handy for me.


    They should decouple Edge from Windows and make it available for other systems (Mac or *gasp* Linux! ha ha). Isn't it available on Android now?


    Imagine if they open-sourced Edge, so that it can be ported to all systems?! ;)





  4. harmjr

    I think Edge is a great browser. I have not had any issues using it. But I only use it about 20% of the time. My biggest issue honestly is the saved passwords. I keep going back because Chrome has them saved. Bing Search results are just horrible as they put way too many ads.


    However I do think they are doing the OneNote for Windows 10 here. And I don't like it.

    I think of Edge as IE 15 or what ever version you want to call it.


    They just need to get the legacy apps to move over and they don't have any other option.


    I have a question to ask why do I trust Edge and not Chrome to not data mine everything.

  5. ChristopherCollins

    When they made the decision to not 'decouple' Edge from Win 10, so that it could be updated EVERY time they added a missing feature, they killed it.


    I still think they would have had better browser share if they had kept IE as the browser for Win 10, then shipped Edge as an app. They could have done it much faster if they'd used Webkit too. It should have all come out as one push. App for 10, iOS, & Android.


    I don't have a Win 10 PC that the Edge icon stayed pinned on. I noticed in the 1803 install, they put an icon back on the desktop, which I promptly delete.


    I'm pretty deep into Chrome & Safari. With Safari's plugin support, I usually run that on the Mac's and Chrome on the PC's. I have also had a couple of friends buy those cheap laptops and I have learned that Opera typically performs best with minimal resources (and usually has all the plugins you need too).

  6. Paul Thurrott

    I mean, yikes. We almost have to rethink this to the point of, what IS Edge?

    On mobile, Edge is a shell that runs on top of whatever rendering engine is on that platform. This works great.

    That is what they should do on Windows, too. Separate the shell from the underlying platform tech.

    Also, unrelated...

    Remember when Edge was just going to run Chrome extensions? And then it was going to be a very easy process for developers to port their extension to Edge? And then, silently, Microsoft (supposedly) artificially limited the availability of extensions in the Store so that they could ensure that they were of very high quality?


  7. RR

    So, I see Paul posted a premium article referencing this thread. Since I can't read the premium article, I will comment on what I have been reading here:

    I think what Microsoft decided with Edge is to go for the big (or differentiated) innovations rather than play small/feature catchup and the like. That's why they have tied it to Windows, because they believe that is how they best achieve that. And I think the strategy is obvious at this point, Timeline, Sets, "Edge" on mobile, M365, all that. They want to embrace and extend iOS & Android, and they want control of those desktop to mobile interfaces through their own browser etc (similar way Chrome is a gateway to Google services). Presumably having desktop Edge and the Edge team in Windows facilitates a lot of that.

    In an alternate feature catchup game, Google can move just as fast, probably faster, and why would anyone switch even if they achieved parity, the power of inertia is just too great in that situation. There is that rule of thumb that to get people to switch you need to be 10X better. Of course that's almost meaningless because who can measure 10X, but you get the point. Probably the best way to attempt to be "10X" better is to rethink how a tool works.

    Now all that said, the compatibility break when they launched Edge and the poor quality out the gate, is still one of the all time clusters. But today, Edge as browser is fine, ~80% of users probably would not see material difference vs Chrome if they tried it. I use it nearly 100%, and my needs are probably at least average. I think an irreducible problem is how many sites optimize for Chrome, and they arent gonna do it for a browser with 4% share. So, the hold back now isn't features or quality in the software itself. It's more the inherent advantages of the default choice, etc at this point. Therefore I do not believe that Microsoft putting their emphasis into a catchup game with Chrome is their best strategy forward now.

  8. Bdsrev

    I wanted to add to this seeing as it's taken off so much. I'm not an expert but I am a power user and enthusiast, and I've always payed very close attention to web browsers. I'm annoyed by Chrome's undeserved dominance in usage share, and annoyed when I see people heap so much praise on it. The people that work on Chrome are not smarter or more talented than the people that work on Edge, Safari or Firefox. In many cases, you can see that actually the opposite is true. The biggest example that comes to mind is "smooth scrolling". Smooth scrolling was a standard, basic feature in most software for many years but it took Google until February or March of 2016 to bring it to Chrome, that is embarrassing and almost alarming. And even then, it still isn't as good as the smooth scrolling in Internet Explorer 11, let alone Edge. My point is, Chrome is not really an impressive or stand out web browser, it 'just works' because everyone uses it because Google dominates the web, we see "switch to Chrome" banners on every Google website. Chrome works best because of compatibility and the sheer brute force of Googles empire, not because Chrome is better than Edge or Safari. Chrome is objectively worse than Edge and Safari or even Firefox in many ways.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Bdsrev:

      . . . Chrome's undeserved dominance . . .

      Face it: you don't believe Chrome deserves it's lead. However, lots of users other than you have given it the lead. Time to consider your subjective preferences don't appeal to the majority of PC users.

      Me, I've never liked its UI. Purely subjective, and I'm reasonably sure few would like the UI I've customized in Firefox ESR.

      Anyway, what makes a browser popular? If one reason is breadth of choice in extensions, why are there so few for Edge compared to other browsers? If another reason is availability under macOS or Linux or even older Windows versions in addition to Windows 10, MSFT has chosen that Edge shouldn't be that popular.

      Back to the first point: what if what's important in a browser to you isn't particularly important to most?

      Choice is good. It's arguably not good Chrome has over 60% microcomputer user share. IMO, it'd be best if no browser had more than 25% user share. It'd make web developers lives harder unless they just supported web standards and let browsers extend themselves into oblivion.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Bdsrev:

      Chrome is a great browser - way better than Edge. More standards compliant, better support, extensions etc. The vast majority of the Internet seem to agree. It's update model is regular and quick, and it's fast and stable. Firefox Quantum is also a great browser - I use it almost as much as Chrome. IE should just die (but it won't).

      You like Edge, and that's fine, but it seems to be a very small number of users who do, no matter how much MS beg or bribe people to use it. I'm not saying Edge hasn't improved in the last couple of years, but on release, it was so shockingly bad, anyone who tried to use it was put off completely, and that was Microsoft's fault, and now they're paying for it.

  9. scoop

    Speaking of which---is there a way to stop Edge from auto-playing videos? It stinks to open a link and music or babble blares before you can stop it. I searched and found lots of comments a la "This can't be done right now, but someday, when Edge offers better extension support."


    I am giving Edge a serious try-out as part of my serious try-out of Win 10 Pro, to which I upgraded from Win 7 a few weeks ago. (On a ThinkPad T420.) I am trying to use as many as the native Win 10 programs as I can, such as Edge in place of Pale Moon/Firefox, Mail instead of Thunderbird, Photos in place of Photo Gallery, even Windows Defender rather than Avast.


    Results are mixed, though the built-in Win 10 stuff is not as bad as some comments suggest. But Edge is frustrating. The 'bones' of a first-rate browser are there, but as noted by so many others, every time you think you might be able to switch to it full-time, something crops up....like no way to stop auto-play.

  10. Chris_Kez

    I hope they get it sorted out as well. I really like Edge but just last night I tried using it to watch an episode of The Expanse on the SyFy website; lots of stuttering. It would play fine for a minute, then stutter and catch up a few seconds later. After this happened three or four times I gave up and tried Chrome; no problem. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • anchovylover

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      That's the problem with Edge. It's death by a thousand cuts. There just always seems to be a glitch of some kind. It is slowly improving but it's so frustrating.


      I just checked out StatCounter desktop browser market share. Edge is at an embarrassing 4% for goodness sake. Oh boy, not good!

  11. hrlngrv

    . . . having no real alternative to Chrome . . .

    Firefox and Opera (and Vivaldi and Brave) aren't alternatives?

  12. rob_segal

    Edge isn't the only thing in Windows 10 Microsoft is struggling to refine.

  13. Jules Wombat

    Just when you thought Edge could not get any worse. Along comes Windows 10 1803 !

    Now fails to open web sites upon starting up. Have to open another browser like Firefox, before Edge decides to open a site.


    From Bad to Worse - Time to finally give up on Edge

  14. Minke

    I wrote this comment on another post somewhere. Edge is interesting, but it fails at basic functionality making it impossible to use. For example, I was unable to import my bookmarks and passwords from Chrome for some reason. I gave up after an hour of trying. I'm not going to use a browser that doesn't do basic stuff like that.

    • lordbaal1

      In reply to Minke:

      Bookmarks are so easy to import.

      Passwords import are a security issues. So I don't think any browsers allow you to import or export passwords.

      • Minke

        In reply to lordbaal1:

        I did a complete reinstall of Windows 10 and Edge now works, including importing bookmarks. Still doesn't work as well as Chrome. For example, the Lastpass extension doesn't work as well as it does in Chrome. I was trying to login into a site for which I have multiple passwords and logins stored, for different users. Edge would not let me choose the correct user, as I can on Chrome. Little things like that can add up and be annoying. Because Chrome is the biggest, everyone optimizes for it.

    • Bdsrev

      In reply to Minke:

      But this might not necessarily be Edges fault...

  15. John Scott

    Yeah its bad to have Chrome so dominate and the damage is probably already done. Firefox alienated its loyal users for a hope and prayer that Chrome users would switch, they did not. Edge was hoping for something that would be a miracle given it only ran on Windows 10 at the start and failed to have many features such as extensions from the get go. It will never recover from these really bad decisions. Unfortunately we already have another IE in Chrome and I have no doubt Google can use a web centered user base to its advantage. Edge can survive even as a minuscule browser in Windows that might eventually turn the corner. Mozilla and Firefox I am less confident it can survive with its dwindling market share.

    • anchovylover

      In reply to John_Scott:

      Firefox is a mystery to me. After having its desktop market share dwindle to around 8% it rallied and regained users raising the share to just over 14%. Now it's steadied these past couple of months at just under 12%. I think Firefox will be fine in the short to medium term as no other browser is gaining on Chrome.

  16. JimP

    > having no real alternative to Chrome would be extremely bad for many reasons.


    There are already real alternatives to Chrome such as Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi.

    • wright_is

      In reply to JimP:

      I tried Chrome for a while, but couldn't get on with it. I used Edge for a while, but my current employer is heavily into Linux, so I'm back on Firefox as my main browser.

      • Daekar

        In reply to wright_is:

        This is one reason why I use Firefox along with Edge. I log into Ubuntu and all my shortcuts are there, I can sent pages from Firefox for Android to the Windows and Linux browsers. I know that Chromium is an option on Linux but I don't really care for it.

  17. Daekar

    So... maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't use Chrome. I use Edge when I can, and Firefox when I can't. I can't think of a time when Edge didn't work properly for me - maybe my needs are less diverse than some folks.


    They should certainly keep optimizing and developing, but I think that "the sky is falling, Edge sucks" phase is over. It's totally usable, supports the extensions I care about, has lovely text rendering, has some nice Cortana integrations, supports inking. The only feature I care about that's missing is multi-account login, so I can wear different digital hats when managing accounts for other entities.

  18. aThingOrTwo

    Annoyingly it seems to be falling behind a bit in standards support.


    This was a presentation at Google I/O which exposed that a little: Build the future of the web with modern JavaScript.


    Some features were V8 only, but nearly every other feature - up went a slide which looked something like this (for the benefit of non-developers the green hexagon is the Node.js runtime):



    By the end it was almost comical as the presenters tried to find different ways to say the same thing.


    This then inspired this droll observation in the comments:


    I love how the extensive know-how of building browsers acquired from Internet Explorer is now properly propagated to Edge. I particularly like the lack of support of any modern JS features and the weird CSS bugs.


    Ouch. The actual picture is slightly more nuanced - Edge standards support is generally quite good and we aren't talking the bad days of the browser that should not be named - but at the same time Microsoft needs to have a look at why they cannot keep up - as it crucial they do not lose developer mind share.


    • RR

      In reply to aThingOrTwo:

      A plebian who uses Edge here: I frankly no longer see any problem with it, very unlike 1 year ago. It actually seemed like is faster and more stable after April 2018 update, not sure if this is true, or just some sort of effect of their new Fluent Design System which is great.

      But isn't FUD an old concept, at this point? What would you expect at a Google I/O presentation?

      • aThingOrTwo

        In reply to RR:


        Dismissing it as FUD is not a wise approach.

        Ideally Microsoft should be trying to encourage developers to develop with Edge, not just test against it. That won't happen if they do not keep up with standards - it just turns off developers.


        I also think they need an equivalent to Chrome canary - as currently to test out future Edge features is impossible without running an development/unstable version of Windows. All the other browsers (Chrome Canary, Safari Technology Preview and Firefox Quantum) can be run against a stable operating system.

    • skane2600

      In reply to aThingOrTwo:

      The comment you quoted is BS. I'm not an Edge user or fan, but Edge supports the vast majority of ECMAScript 6 features. Chrome does a bit better, but doesn't support it all either.


      https://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es6/

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to skane2600:

        Agreed. I haven’t spent extensive time trying to debug with Edge, but I’m now curious.


        As as a user, though, it is very rare that I have to switch out of Edge for anything. Once they had a 1Password plugin for it, it became my default browser on Windows.


        However. *IF* Microsoft wants this PWA future they so covet, they need to be absolutely certain to support everything perfectly with Edge.


        If users get get a better PWA experience out of Chrome, that will be quite embarrassing.


        Especially if they want it all seamless through the store. The built-in framework driving that stuff needs to be flawless.


        Edge currently isnt flawless.


        • skane2600

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          The other thing to consider is how long it takes for the latest JavaScript features to be utilized by a significant number of sites even if the latest browser versions support them. If Google were to lean too hard on the "hot off the press" JavaScript features when implementing PWA, they might exclude too high a percentage of users and potentially kill the initiative.

          • aThingOrTwo

            In reply to skane2600:


            I don't see a lot of practical difference between "missing" and "planned to be implemented some day"


            The difference is other browsers are shipping these features either in the stable version or in a preview version, whereas Edge there is no support in any version. 


            I think we are getting a bit lost in the details though. To bring it full-circle back around to the original point the real problem is how this is perceived externally. It is very important when trying to attract interest and support from developers. I don't know the reason why Google, Mozilla and Apple are able to get these features out faster, but it looks bad that Microsoft cannot keep up.


            Maybe you could clarify stage 5 - as I understand the TC39 process only has four stages. String trimStart/trimEnd and optional catch binding are stage three, the rest are finished.


            curtisspendlove: If users get get a better PWA experience out of Chrome, that will be quite embarrassing.


            Chrome has best overall support (although to be expected as PWA originated from Google). This is an overview of the major PWA feature support across browsers (also from I/O 2018). It is pretty good across the board:



      • aThingOrTwo

        In reply to skane2600:



        The comment quoted was a bit flippant (I'm assuming for rhetorical effect) but it wasn't "BS".


        This talk was about the modern JavaScript ("Build the future of the web with modern JavaScript") (i.e. ES2018, not ES6/2015).


        Using your same source there isn't a single engine which has worse ES 2016+ support than Edge: http://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es2016plus/


        Specifically from the talk these features are are supported or shortly to be supported in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Node but missing from Edge:


        * for-await-of

        * Optional catch binding

        * Promise finally

        * String trim

        * Object spread/rest

        And these are supported in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Node but missing from Edge preview and Firefox:

        * RegExp dot all

        * RegExp named capture groups

        * RegExp unicode property escapes


        • skane2600

          In reply to aThingOrTwo:

          I guess I don't see a lot of practical difference between "missing" and "planned to be implemented some day". Nor would I consider "modern" to be limited to a just released (or perhaps not quite released - has stage 5 finished yet?) standard.

Leave a Reply