A couple months ago I professed that Microsoft was set to “Lose the Browser Wars a Second Time,” and over this last weekend it happened.
Netmarketshare (and a slew of other metric sites), show Chrome has a slim lead over all other web browsers, but it’s a lead, nonetheless. And, this marks the first time that Chrome has surpassed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
But, in truth, the lead over Internet Explorer is not the big stat. The bigger story here is what’s missing.
At last count, Windows 10 is supplying computing resources for over 270 million devices. The company has set a goal of 1 billion devices by 2017. Microsoft spent an enormous number of spin cycles before and after Windows 10 launched publicly promoting it’s “next generation” web browser, Microsoft Edge. However, as Chrome has risen to market prominence and Internet Explorer has stalled, Edge is nowhere to be found in any stat. With over 270 million devices running Windows 10, shouldn’t Edge have made it into viewable range by now?
And, maybe that’s why Microsoft recently announced that…
…Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box.
Edge has essentially dropped off the face of the Earth. While Microsoft continues to boast that Edge is the future of the web, users are installing Chrome. But now every search on a Windows 10 device, powered by Cortana and Bing, will be fused with Edge. I’m not sure what to think here, but wasn’t “choice” the reason for some antitrust issues of the past?
The places where Microsoft is bleeding market share, like the web browser and smartphones, the company will tell you that the technology world is evolving beyond those things. It will say that it’s now all about “bots,” AI, and digital personal assistants. The company will say that those things we still use every day – phones and web browsers – aren’t that important and we shouldn’t be too concerned. But, not seeing Edge show up even as a single digit stat point still has to be worrying.
Microsoft is making big bets that it can rush the future to our doorsteps and hopefully eliminate competition in the process. However, like anything, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Even Microsoft’s cloud, which continues to supply Microsoft’s top revenue gains, isn’t as popular with businesses as the company’s marketing army would have you believe. Except for Office 365, adoption is slow. Not Microsoft Edge slow, but also not as rapid as it seems. Microsoft appears to be willing to hold out and wait for the rest of us to catch up to its vision. The company is doing amazing things with Azure, for sure, but daily headlines aren’t fueling adoption.
Will Edge ever be a viable web entryway? It remains to be seen. If Microsoft gets its way, when we’re finally ready for the future the company will already be there waiting for us with open arms. Unfortunately, the company may have to invent Stargate wormhole technology to get us there in time.