- Since 2009 Microsoft’s web browsers have seen a dramatic decline in market share.
- The new Microsoft Edge aims at recapturing some of that lost market share.
- That seems unlikely to happen when Edge is now functionally the same as Google Chrome.
The war between internet browsers has been raging since 2002 when Firefox came out – unless you count Opera, which technically came out in ’95. Personally, I don’t because no one uses it. Internet Explorer was once the go-to web browser for everyone. Now its market share is less than 2%.
Microsoft tried to reinvent the browser with Windows 10. Branding it Microsoft Edge, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to that share. Right now around 4.5% of people globally use Edge.
Microsoft is hoping to change that with the new Microsoft Edge based on Google’s open-source Chromium engine.
The New Microsoft Edge = Basically Google Chrome
Part of the reason for Chrome’s massive rise in success over the past decade was its usability. It offered something incredibly quick and simple compared to Internet Explorer. There was also the added advantage of Chrome being advertised via the world’s most popular search engine.
So how does the new Microsoft Edge intend to fix this issue? Basically just by being Chrome. But they also make you use Bing as your default search engine. You can change that to Google at least. The point is that Microsoft Edge doesn’t bring anything new to the table beyond a logo redesign.
The new Microsoft Edge feels functionally the same as Google Chrome. You can even sync all of your bookmarks and login data across it. Chrome extensions work with the ‘new’ browser as well. Most of the time, it’s basically impossible to tell the difference between the two at first glance.
It’s Because It’s Based on Chromium
Chromium is a great project. It has given many people access to a lightweight browser, even when using Linux. It has also given access to a great starting point for anyone wanting to create their own browser program. Of course, they all end up being basically the same.
Microsoft Edge isn’t really any different from these other browsers. The chances are that this isn’t going to challenge Chrome’s market dominance. Anyone already using Chrome isn’t going to move over to Edge when it offers no advantages.
If there’s any silver lining in this for Microsoft, it comes from their huge install base – 700 million different devices use Windows 10. That is an insanely high number, and if each of those comes with the new Edge by default, Microsoft might just be in with a chance of recapturing it’s lost market share.