Browser wars: Has Microsoft Edge completely lost its way?

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Edge is struggling to make up ground on the leaders of the web browser market, the latest data suggests.

According to figures from Statcounter, recently updated to include statistics from April, Microsoft Edge has either lost or failed to gain market share in four of the last six months.

Currently, Microsoft’s flagship browser is said to hold a 4.05% share of the market (across both desktop and mobile platforms), which equates to an estimated 200 million users. Although Edge has now eked out a lead over Firefox (3.41%), its market share is a long way shy of both Google Chrome (64.34%) and Apple’s Safari (19.16%).

The stagnation of Microsoft Edge

Since its (re-)launch in January 2020, the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge has been broadly well-received, courtesy of a series of upgrades that modernized the user experience.

The browser’s share of the market grew rapidly in its first year, thanks in part to renewed marketing efforts, and the retirement of Internet Explorer and Edge Legacy (whose users Microsoft was careful to funnel towards its new flagship).

However, with few gains left to tap into here, the rise of Microsoft Edge appears to have stagnated – and that’s despite continued efforts on the company’s part to deliver improvements to the service.

In recent weeks, for example, Microsoft has unveiled a built-in VPN-like service for Edge, improvements for the in-built password manager and new integrations designed to help users diagnose any performance issues.

One possible explanation for the slowdown in adoption is that attitudes towards Edge have soured somewhat in light of Microsoft’s attempts to strong-arm Windows users into embracing the service.

Last summer, it emerged the company had made it much more finicky to change the default web browser in Windows 11, and in November, it was found that Microsoft was forcing links opened via its own services to launch inside Edge. The backlash against these changes was significant, ultimately forcing Microsoft into an embarrassing retreat.

Alternatively, the rise in popularity of privacy-centric browsers from the likes Brave and DuckDuckGo - pitched as an antidote to the ills of Big Tech - could be making life more difficult for Microsoft. The latest figures suggest Brave’s browser now holds roughly 1% of the market.

But whatever the reason for the stagnation of Edge, Microsoft will need to find a way to revitalize its browser soon, if its ambitions to challenge for a place at the top of the market are to be realized.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.