back to article We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

It's official that Edge is number two. At least according to NetMarketShare. The sound of muted rejoicing could be heard emanating from bedrooms and home offices around the Seattle area last week as the internet usage watcher published figures showing that Microsoft's browser had edged (sorry) ahead of Mozilla's Firefox to …

  1. The BigYin

    That's depressing

    Is Chromium the new IE6?

    At least the core is open source I guess.

  2. Len

    Firefox blocks tracking

    Wasn't this to be expected now Firefox blocks many trackers by default? Usage will look much lower than it really is if many counters can't count any more.

    I've always wondered whether this was one of the reasons why Mozilla waited so long before they turned this on by default.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox blocks tracking

      I agree with your count point but I don't think Firefox held off on implementing the tracker protection to keep their counts up. That's something that Microsoft (or Google or Apple) would do.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Firefox blocks tracking

        Google is incentivised to allow tracking, but I don't see the argument for Microsoft or Apple. Indeed, Apple started enabling anti-tracking by default in 2017 and has beefed it up periodically since then.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Firefox blocks tracking

      "Wasn't this to be expected now Firefox blocks many trackers by default? Usage will look much lower than it really is if many counters can't count any more."

      I like your thinking!!! And, it probably means HIGHER usage for Firefox by the security-minded!

      Now if I could JUST get them to ABANDON AUSTRALIS [at least for those of us who HATE it]

      {when you can ONLY feed at the pig trough, you feed at the pig trough, but you will RAPIDLY GO ELSEWHERE as SOON as something ELSE is available!}

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Am I a bad person

    If I don't care who makes a browser, as long as it's (a) standards compliant and (b) runs uBlock Origin and NoScript?

    And doesn't phone home with every keystroke and click...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Am I a bad person

      How do you know what's standards-compliant when there is only one renderer left?

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Am I a bad person

      If you are then you're far from alone.

    3. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Am I a bad person

      Merely short sighted. If you dont take care, very soon that browser will cease to exist.

  4. GrumpenKraut

    After many years of effort

    Microsoft managed to do a glorious number 2.

    Someone had to say it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A glorious No 2

      Yep... That's the Ms we know and love. Shitting all over you.

      Now they've [cough][cough] persuaded Washington State to allow Facial Recognition when a good few other states are banning it. Welcome to the State of Microsoft!

      1. Wibble

        Re: A glorious No 2

        Are we sure it's not the turd version?

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: A glorious No 2

        Sorry, my face is UNRECOGNIZABLE - I'm wearing a mask to protect everyone ELSE from my GERM CLOUD!

        (was troll icon until I corrected it)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't really see what the fuss is about Chromium-Edge.

    So Chromium-Edge was basically an admission from Microsoft that they're bad at making browsers... Then they take another product that's best-in-class (not for me as a firefox user but I know I'm a minority) and start tinkering with it and expect us to think that that suddenly made them competent and somehow the resulting product will be better than the product they're cloning?? How does that logic work?

    The engine was never really the problem with Edge anyway. It was just the poor UI and the lack of something it was exceptionally good at. For example: Firefox is really good at privacy, a point Chrome obviously lacked. The key feature for Edge is not clear.

    1. Wibble

      What's the 'new' edge UI like compared with "legacy edge"? Always found the later IEs and legacy edge to be a bit shit; stupid dropdowns, ugly animations, and general cack rendering of widgets.

      Don't have a recent VM of Win-DOS to run it on so have never seen it. Have always had this issue where part of me thinks that people who run IE just don't know any better - we forgive them as they know not what they are doing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The key feature for Edge is not clear."

      Without humor, it is for me. Everytime I wonder if it could be my browser, I'll use edge as a reference because I never use edge. If in such cases it actually works right in edge, I'm in no way feeling better thus edge's key feature is that nothing should ever work right in edge... so...

    3. GlenP Silver badge

      The key feature for Edge is not clear

      There is an advantage where you've got legacy apps that only work properly on IE as the Chromium Edge compatibility modes work OK (provided your happy to fiddle with GPOs).

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      So Chromium-Edge was basically an admission from Microsoft that they're bad at making browsers...

      No, it wasn't. In among all the proprietary Active X crap there was, at least with IE ≥ 9 some reasonable code and the IE team did make some significant contributions to the HTML and CSS test suites, though it didn't seem to want to support SVG or other video formats, that it wasn't in the patent pool for. The problems were not really with the rendering engine but in the fucking brain dead twins of bundling the browser code in the OS file manager (and Outlook), and nurturing privilege escalation attacks through Active X plugins, which were always exploits waiting to happen.

      But, developing a browser rendering engine is a lot of work and Microsoft had realised that it could achieve lock-in in other ways. So, by switching to Chromium it could pursue lock-in and sack a load of developers and QA and let Google do the work on the rendering engine, which it now uses for more and more subscription products.

    5. Carrot007

      "The key feature for Edge is not clear."

      Netflix in 1080 without pain?

  6. Chris Hills

    Oh really...

    Would it really be number 2 if users had to consciously download and install it themselves rather than having it forced upon them? It seems like antitrust all over again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh really...

      There's no way. So many things are linked to the default browser without indicating which browser will open, things like "Check out this news"... which really means "Check out this news in edge."

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Andy Non

    Why the decline of Firefox?

    I've been using it for many years and love it; mainly for the add-ons like Adblock Plus and NoScript etc. Do people just not care about blocking ads and crap on the internet? Or is it that they have to actually go to the effort of downloading it and that is beyond the average person nowadays?

    I tried browsing the internet without an adblocker and it really is a turd fest of irrelevant crap all over the screen. Do people really browse like that all the time? Or can you get adblockers for Edge and Chrome? (I've never used them so don't know)

    1. irg

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      You can get adblock on Chrome, and plenty of other extensions. It has become a de facto default on desktop and on Android it is the actual default. I think the question you've got to ask is why would the average user look anywhere else?

      Firefox is good, but it isn't special. I haven't *liked* a browser since the days when Opera had its own rendering engine and plenty of neat features.

      1. Rasczak

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        If you use Vivaldi, from the guy who did the original Opera, then its latest snapshot has tracker and ad blocking built in. Being chromium based all the other extensions work as well.

        Possibly also related to the slight increase in Chrome figures is that Vivaldi now identifies as vanilla Chrome in the User Agent. Loses its own share in the stats but, as they said at the time, it stops sites serving a different page unnecessarily.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      I suspect that most of us who use Firefox (and we are legion, of course) care much more about privacy than people who just drool over the latest shiny metallic thing from GRUgle, and therefore, we are here, but we just sail through invisibly on the breeze and don't show up in the stats spyware trackers?

      (It doesn't help that Firefox broke their extensions ecosystem, and (good/usable) replacements for many of the old extensions still don't yet exist (waves sadly at RequestPolicy; uBlock Origin is just too confusing to try to sort of do the same thing))

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        Try uMatrix, it sounds more like the thing you're looking for. than uBlock Origin.

        But they had good reasons to change the extension architecture IMO.

        And yes I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people are simply not on the radar because of privacy plugins. And User-Agent headers are a completely broken mechanism of course.

        1. Wibble

          Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

          Thanks for the uMatrix tip!

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        I suspect most of those who use Firefox might be quite interested in privacy, but MORE interested in telling us they use FireFox and how enlightened they are.

        FF users are the vegans of browser users. If you want privacy, keep it a secret what browser you use :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

          > FF users are the vegans of browser users. If you want privacy, keep it a secret what browser you use :)

          No, we're more likely to use lynx

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      Yes you can get adblockers for those too. Even good ones like uBlock Origin.

      For me the plus features of firefox are:

      - Truly anonymous and zero-knowledge synchronisation

      - Multi-Account Containers - Amazing to keep your cookies separate without having to use different browsers, and really helps in some enterprise usecases too (e.g. logging into 2 different O365 tenants at the same time)

      - All platforms (Edge doesn't do Linux so is out)

      - Privacy-first and built-in tracking blocking that they're doing now. I do this anyway with addons but anyway...

      1. NerryTutkins

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        For me, the biggest plus features of Firefox:

        - ability to do some basic customizations like moving buttons around, changing basic behaviour (bookmark links replace existing page or open in new tabs, etc.)

        - ability to tweak all kinds of behaviour by using about:config to access hundreds of different default settigs and to change them

    4. BGatez

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      INCLUDING El Reg

    5. ThomH

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      I think it's just that most people use only one browser, and every visit to a Google site comes with a 'this'd be so much cooler if you used Chrome' pop-up. I wouldn't be surprised if some people download just because pop-ups are annoying.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        I tend to vary browser use by platform. Safari on Macs and iOS, not that you have a choice on iOS. Firefox on Windows and Linux. Occasional use of Firefox on Mac, mostly for sites Apple doesn’t like for some reason. (No, not including El Reg, that works in Safari, usually it’s something technical.) Brave and Vivaldi and Opera for extremely occasional use, I haven’t touched them, except for Brave, in so long that I’m probably a version or two behind. Brave I use for specific sites. Chrome I use for sites which really need it; a lot of sites say stupid stuff about their requirements but work in Safari or Firefox just fine, though I may have to change the user agent. Brave usually works, too, though then there’s moaning about adblockers. Which happens anyway as I stick uBlock Origin everywhere I can. Edge happens on Windows because MS opens certain things in Edge whether I want it or not. I don’t. That MS annoyance means that I do a lot in other OSes.

        Similarly, Google trying to pop stuff up despite my pop-up blocker gets dealt with by not going near Google. Because I declined to use Google’s mail app and webmail, Google pouted and decided that I wasn’t me and killed access to two of my Gmail accounts. I have killed off all the other Gmail accounts. I have killed off and/or deleted all Google stuff from all my personal systems, down to Waze and Google Earth. I no longer go to Google anything. No pop-ups, no problems. This is probably not what Google wanted. Tough.

        1. The Sprocket

          Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

          Yup. Killed off the last of Google's junk last year. Nice to be free and not witholding to them.

      2. Teiwaz

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        'this'd be so much cooler if you used Chrome' pop-up.

        I've never seen one.

        Can't recall the last time I used anything other than Firefox.

        And I must have used a Google site or two (damn hard to void not doing, and I've avoided a smartphone so far (apart from an N900).

      3. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        FireFox stupid security policy if being the "Most Secure" meaning breaking sites first.

        Years of FireFox being the first to break and every other browser "just works" takes it toll. Web is no better for their efforts.

        Everyone just moved to Chrome

    6. NerryTutkins

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      I've used FF since it was Firebird. But in the last 6-12 months, it's really gone downhill. It just crashes on me far too often, several times a day. It wasn't the quantum update, it was something a few releases after that. Something snapped, and it's not been the same since. It does the same on both my laptop and desktop, and my desktop machine has 16 GB ram, so it's not because I have a lack of resources.

      I have installed the new Edge, and performance wise, it's a mixed bag. It seems more reliable than FF (not crashing) but switching youtube videos to full screen seems to take several seconds.

      And the interface is still the god awful chrome one, where you cannot move buttons, you cannot tweak anything and add-ons are clunky buttons added to toolbar, and that's about it.

      For the life of me, I just cannot understand why there are all these Chrome clones around, and they're all shit. None of them provide any differentiation that might be useful, like being able to move the basic browser buttons around, and access some internal behaviour of tabs, etc. with an about:config like feature.

      1. chroot

        Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

        Don't have that problem at all. There is a refresh profile function in Firefox: go to Help → Troubleshooting information and there is a button to refresh.

    7. Elledan

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      I have used Firefox since before it was called Firefox, yet I gave up on Firefox a few years ago because I didn't care for the direction it was heading.

      I now use Pale Moon as my main browser, which is an evolution of 'old-school' Firefox, keeping the powerful XUL extensions and NPAPI support, while cutting the bloat that nobody was using. Because Pale Moon doesn't use the crippled WebExtensions, it can use the more powerful NoScript and uBlock Origin addons, as XUL allows for direct access to a lot of the browser's internals.

      Much like many others who are using Pale Moon, Waterfox and similar Fx spin-offs, we like Firefox still, just not this 'Firefox' that Mozilla tries to pawn off as the 'real deal' nowadays. If it wasn't for the fact that Firefox doesn't use Chromium (yet), one might as well just call it another Chromium-based browser. It follows the same APIs as Chrome, after all, to the point where one can install Chrome addons in Firefox and have them work without issues.

      So yeah, that's why I'm no longer using Mozilla's Firefox.

    8. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?


      Honestly, that's almost certainly the reason.

      When every browser tries to looks exactly like Chrome, then everyone just gets Chrome.

    9. chroot

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      One of the reasons is that anytime you use any Google service, you get an alert to install a secure browser: Chrome.

    10. baud

      Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

      Also Google pushed a lot the Chrome installations by asking developer to bundle chrome with their installer, usually for software distributed for free. Google is sometime offering M$ to bundle their browser with the installer for widely-used software (like what happened with VLC). The option to install Chrome and make it the default browser is usually a small checkbox somewhere in the install process, so people less computer literate or who didn't paid attention will leave this on.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge

    Funny thing is...

    I tried ChromEdge and didn't find it all that appealing. I do like Brave, Chrome with out the Googliness.

  9. Russell Chapman Esq.

    Chrome? No thanks.

    I use Brave and donate a third of the BAT tokens I earn each month to El Reg.

  10. BGatez

    Proof there's no limit on stupid

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'll stick to Firefox.

    Edge is the browser equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf with a body kit and spinners.

    Firefox is the Land Rover Defender of Browsers. Basic but solid and works on any terrain without issues.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Nah...

      Wish works on any terrain were true. FireFox only works on the public internet only. They gave up support usecases like loading off CDs, local filesystem, or local LAN, or local to desktop a long while back. They only support the Internet terrain. Which is where their revenue comes from.

      Chromium on the other hand, works on all terrains and this is why its the base for lots of development.

      Same can be said for spider monkey, its a bitch to run outside firefox, v8 is a synch.

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    Default web browser for the win

    It says something about Internet Explorer that so many people jumped into Edge from it.

    Of course, just because the browser is installed by default with Windows Update it doesn't mean that many people are actually using it.

    Or the data could be wrong, or a result of Windows 10 forcing you to use Edge after an update.

    1. Lorribot

      Re: Default web browser for the win

      Server 2016 does not have Edge installed or available to use so if you browse the web from a server (surely not, never do that) you will inevitably use IE.

  13. Lorribot

    For years Google forced Chrome installs on everyone who wanted some freeware by paying for it to be included and installed unless you didn't click custom install. They then bulldozed their way in to the smartphone market with Chrome on every Android Device (and no other allowed, something MS was prevented from doing) so have effectively complete control of the market. They also tied all their services to the browsers and made everyone else's browser run like treacle when accessing you tube or gmail, sometimes wilfully in the case of MS, sometimes by not following standards because Google knows best. Yes they had the performance crown for awhile but boy does it use a lot of resources to do it. Google also tracks your every move, in your browser and on the web under the guise of its analytics stats, but basically Google knows more about you than your mother.

    Old Edge was bit clunky but for most part was a lithe and solid browser (Google website aside), New edge is resource hungry, has the default Chromium naff settings and layout but is compliant with the Google Web and sends it's data to Microsoft (don't worry Google still tracks you through the websites and probably the browser too knowing them).

    What's not to like? Pretty much everything.

    No competition. Google is worse than MS were at their peak in early 2000s hopefully Google's fall will be quicker and the fines even bigger and we can go back to fair competition and proper standards.

  14. NibblyPig

    Switched to Chromedge, never looked back.

    Once upon a time, Microsoft were evil and Google were not evil, and we switched to Google to save us. Using IE to download Chrome as its only task became a popular meme.

    Now, I use Chrome to download Edge, then wipe Chrome clean off my computer.

    Google has become E-Corp, infesting every part of peoples lives and harvesting insane quantities of data which it links together.

    I only wish I could de-google my phone.

    Google with its anticompetitive practices made sites pretty much unusable in IE, hence one of the major reasons for shifting to Chromium. And even then, it deliberately gimps YouTube if your user agent string is ChromiumEdge.

    "Do No Evil". Hah! They've become the monsters they swore never to be.

    I just need to get my passwords out of Google and switch away from gmail now. It is ludicrous how much of my data goes through them.

  15. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

    There are several browsers which have about the same measured usage and they are all laggards behind Chrome. I tend not to put much faith in the precise rankings and browsers and OSes by these 'survey' liars. Accurate stats are fairly difficult to obtain and the best you have is an order of magnitude with possibly some sort of accurate trends.

  16. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Does it matter anymore?

    During the browser wars of the 1990's it was believed that "whoever controls the browser, controls the Internet." It's clear that this is simply not true anymore. So does the browser matter?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it matter anymore?

      It's clear that this is simply not true anymore

      It's not? Who makes chrome again?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I for one would like to congratulate Mozilla. Their continued efforts to turn firefox into chrome have successfully alienated what user base they had, so much so that even a Microsoft browser is now beating them. Good job! #achievementunlocked

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    No doubt if MS Edge start to erode too much of the Chrome share from Google, Google will switch Chrome to another rendering engine and artificially make none Chrome browsers slower on Youtube, Gmail, Google docs etc with recommendations to download Chrome for a faster experience. Just like they did in the past.

    Although im sure Google are happy with the input from MS and others to the Chromium project they will drop Chromium like a hot potato if it doesn't help them with their privacy slurping and ad flinging goals

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