This is what some would call playing dirty. That is how best to describe the new campaign by Microsoft to get people to switch over to Windows 10 and start using the Edge browser. The new pitch from Microsoft, to be fair, mentions how Edge fares against the top browsers. But Google’s Chrome is getting the brunt because Microsoft targeted Chrome’s weakest point, power consumption. Anybody familiar with PC browsers know for a fact that Google Chrome drains battery faster than other browsers. But there is a reason why Chrome is the most used browser. It has nothing to do with how it optimizes power. But everything to do with the fact that on a check list of features to look out for in a good browser, Chrome ticks the most number of boxes.
So how did Microsoft belittle Chrome. In a blog post complete with video and fancy graphs, Microsoft showed how four similar laptops using different browsers consume battery power. The browsers used as guinea pig for this display are Opera mini, Firefox, Chrome and Edge. It is a convincing display. Even if it is crass and not something to expect from dignified tech giant like Microsoft. Is this a sign that Microsoft is getting edgy about the rate at which people are adopting Windows 10? That is in spite of all the tricks to make people shift to the operating system and invariably Edge browser.
Reading the blog post sounded like a normal experiment by some scientists concerned about saving the world from a deadly virus. But it is a sales pitch. Make no mistake about that. Here is part of the spin from the blog, written by Jason Weber, Director of the Microsoft’s Web Platform team:
Using a power efficient browser is one of the best ways to get more out of your PC or tablet – whether you’re checking email, shopping online, playing games, or watching movies. Today’s laptops and tablets last longer than ever, thanks to major advances in battery technology, processor architecture, and software design. Still, no battery lasts forever, and every extra hour counts when you’re on the go.
We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices.”
You can read up the whole and rather lengthy blog post to see the extend of the hatchet job done by Microsoft on other browsers.
I guess Microsoft know exactly who that is going to convince to start using the Edge browser over Chrome. It is not going to convince a lot of people. Especially the millions whose experience with Internet Explorer (IE) was deplorable. The reason Chrome is the outright leader goes far beyond power consumption. For instance, Chrome is a very stable browser. It doesn’t crash or freeze as much as others.
Also, Chrome interface is based on the minimalist approach. It is simple yet effective. Chrome proves the point that a browser doesn’t need too many button and icons on the home screen to be damn good. Then again, there are so many apps and add-ons out there that integrate easily with Chrome. Finally, what Microsoft apparently forgot is that almost all internet denizens have a Google account. And just one Google account is all that is needed to access all Google services in Chrome browser and other products and services across a wide range of devices.
Edge is just a new browser. Still trying to get its acts together. Even add-ons are not yet integrated in the browser. I don’t think Edge can escape the fate of IE no matter the amount of battery saving features in it. Right now, Internet Explorer is more widely used than any browser because it is the default browser in new computers. Edge would occupy that position when people start acquiring new computers. New computers means a default Windows 10 operating system. And a Windows 10 OS means an Edge browser as default browser. That is the outlook for Edge. But for people to actually download Edge to replace a browser like Chrome, I have to say, that is not going to happen.
photo credit: pcworld.com; redmondmag.com; wikipedia.org