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Microsoft's Edge reverses trend, gains share among Windows 10 users

Gregg Keizer | March 8, 2016
But it remains the preferred browser of a minority who run Windows 10.

Microsoft's Edge browser made gains in user and usage share last month, but the default browser of Windows 10 remained the choice of a minority of users -- according to some sources, a very small minority.

Edge, the designated default browser for Windows 10, grew its user share -- a measurement by American analytics vendor Net Applications that represents the portion of users worldwide who run a specific browser -- by nearly five percentage points in February, climbing to 30.7% of those running the new OS. That's up from 26% in January.

It was the first time since Windows 10's July 2015 launch that Net Applications showed an increase in Edge's share of Windows 10's audience. Prior to February, Net Applications reported month-after-month of steady declines from the 36% user share it reported in August, the first full month after 10's public debut.

Another source, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP) also portrayed an Edge increase, although it was smaller than Net Applications' gain. DAP put Edge's portion of the Windows 10 pool at 24.9%, a five-tenths of a percentage point increase over January.

DAP, which counts visits to more than 4,000 websites on over 400 different domains maintained by U.S. government agencies, is U.S.-centric, although some visitors access the sites from overseas.

StatCounter, an Irish metrics company, also put Edge's U.S. usage share -- a proxy for activity originating with a particular browser and thus a different measurement than either Net Applications' or DAP's -- at slightly higher last month. For February, Edge's U.S. share of all Windows 10 was 17.1%, a gain of three-tenths of a percentage point from the month before.

Edge's global usage share of all Windows 10, however, remained flat in February at just 13.3%, StatCounter's data showed.

The new browser's inability to attract a majority of Windows 10 users has been contrary to expectations, perhaps even Microsoft's. An operating system's default browser typically remains that: On Macs, for example, the default Safari has consistently accounted for two-thirds of the browsers used on OS X.

Contributing factors to the user indifference toward Edge may range from its incomplete functionality -- Microsoft has not yet unveiled support for add-ons -- to its appearance during a stretch when massive numbers of Windows users dumped the Redmond, Wash. company's older browser, Internet Explorer, for Google's Chrome.


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