This bit of news might come as a surprise to people like me who spent most of day their online: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser in the world, taking up more than half of the market share according to results released last year.
What about the Edge browser, the new PC browser released by Microsoft to replace Internet Explorer? Since March last year, Microsoft has tried to distance to define itself from the Internet Explorer. It finally culminated to the introduction of the Edge browser. Edge browser was supposed to fix all the things that were not right with the Explorer. But, did it?
In a nutshell, what killed Internet Explorer for professionals was the fact that it displayed web pages differently from other browsers. Another reason was that the Explorer was notorious for security weaknesses which Microsoft, most often than not, was slow to fix. And the crashes. Explorer crashed for fun. But it wasn’t fun for your browser to suddenly to stop working in the middle of an important task. And the only solution was to restart the browser or the whole PC.
That is why Microsoft spend a lot of resources to convince a skeptical tech world that the new Edge browser would be significantly better than the Explorer. For that reason, all Windows 10 PCs come bundled with the new browser. A clear statement from Microsoft that it is willing and able to wash its hands off of the Explorer for good.
So why is the Edge browser still finding it difficult to capture the imagination of the public. For now, one of the problems is just about numbers. The Windows 10 operating system which has the Edge browser bundled in it is still new in the market. Currently only about 10 percent of PCs are powered by Windows 10. Which translates to about the same number having the Edge browser running on them. That is, if all the PCs use it.
However the numbers show that the Edge browser has only about 3% active users. This clearly shows the perception issue has clearly spilled from Explorer to Edge. Simply put, people are not downloading the Edge browser into their system. To access the net, people still prefer the old ones like Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.
And this is not likely to change soon. Because for now, Edge browser would not allow you to add any extension or add-ons to it. This is just like saying a brand new car, for reasons best known to the manufacturer, is not compatible with third party security gadgets. Add-ons and extensions, perform several important functions in our browsers; one of which is to improve performance and to enhance security while we are online. Personally, I can’t even count the number of add-ons and extensions I use. They are so useful for even little things like downloading YouTube videos to my hard drive.
This is what Microsoft had to say about the issue of add-ons when asked about it in October last year:
Not a very reassuring answer for those eager to test how add-ons would fare on the Edge browser.
So as Microsoft finally stopped providing support for all versions of Internet Explorer (except Explorer 11), the next logical step for them is to make the Edge browser attractive. Or else, it would just be another by-word for a short-lived but highly publicized fad.