Should Microsoft give up on browser war?

According to analytics vendor Net Applications, Microsoft lost 40 million Internet Explorer users in October and over 300 million in 2016. Despite Windows 10 getting users back to Internet Explorer and Edge, a usage drop at this page will put Microsoft at risk of losing its leading spot as the most-used browser. Microsoft’s problem is Google, and to a lesser degree, Firefox.

For a while, users defected from Firefox after the company failed to keep the browser from being bug-free and crashing frequently. Things changed when the company adopted a transparent versioning system that clearly delineated software updates. Now on version 50, Firefox’s memory container prevents add-ons from crashing the browser. There are rarely any memory leaks, problems with flash, or instabilities when java is running. The focus on maintaining a stable browser is working. Since August, Firefox’s market share rose steadily. It now has a market share in the double-digits.

Google Chrome’s sharp growth since the start of the year is dramatic. The browser started the year with a market share at around 35 per cent and now has a market share above 50 per cent. Google’s investment in Android generated a stronger awareness for the Chrome browser on mobile. Users naturally installed the browser on the computer, using such browser apps as Google Maps, Search, Gmail, Docs, Photos, and Calendar. These apps sync with the browser on the mobile device.

Firefox also has synchronization options. After creating a Firefox account, users may sync bookmarks, history, tabs, passwords, add-ons, and preferences across all devices.

This is the source of Microsoft’s browser problem: Microsoft does not have a big market share in mobile devices. Though the hardware specifications for Windows Phone 10 are excellent, users are not buying into the WP10 architecture. That limits the synchronizing of browser data to PCs and Surface tablets.

Edge support

In Canada, some financial institutions do not fully support the Edge browser. The banks suggest using Chrome or Firefox for full compatibility. When Microsoft’s browser does not have full support from major businesses, that will hurt adoption over time. It leaves no choice for users but to migrate to Firefox and Chrome.

Microsoft’s Edge and Internet Explorer browsers face serious pressures as users shift permanently to those other browsers. The software giant’s strategy may require de-emphasizing on winning browser market share. Instead, it should focus on its cloud solutions. So long as Office 365 and OneDrive works on Google Chrome and Firefox, Microsoft may continue making money through cloud software subscription sales.

Microsoft still needs to maintain IE and Edge, especially as new viruses emerge. That way, Windows 10 users do not get an infection. As an added level of protection, the operating system includes Windows Defender, formally known as Microsoft Securities Essentials. Power users may want to install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware as a secondary tool for detecting malware in any of the browsers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Chris Lau
Chris Lau
In search for alpha. Telecom, media, technology. Social media. Financial Markets. Real-Estate Agent. Seeking Alpha Contributor. Toronto, Ontario ·

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