Web browsers: Edge returns to Safari on PC

According to StatCounter, Microsoft’s Edge browser has now overtaken Apple’s Safari in March 2022 and still far surpasses Firefox, which has yet to catch up. Google Chrome is very much racing in the lead.

Microsoft Edge has overtaken Apple’s Safari to become the world’s second most popular desktop browser, according to data provided by web analytics service StatCounter. In February, Microsoft Edge came close to catching up with Safari, with less than half a point (9.54% to 9.84%) among browsers in popularity among desktop users. The latest numbers from StatCounter show that Edge is now used on 10.07% of desktop computers worldwide, up 0.46% from Safari, which is down 9.61%.

Google Chrome still ranks first with 66.58% of all desktop users. As for Mozilla’s Firefox browser, it has just 7.87% of the share, a significant drop from the 9.18% it held in February. This data was reported by MacRumors. Edge’s progress over other browsers varies greatly by site. For example, in the US, Edge lags far behind Safari – Edge only has 12.55% of the market share while Safari claims 17.1%. In Europe, Edge has long overtaken Safari, with 11.73% and 9.36%, respectively.

Evolution of market shares of world’s most popular desktop browser according to StatCounter. (Credit: StatCounter)

Firefox lacks the marketing power of its competitors

Firefox never had a huge market share in the beginning. And it doesn’t have the marketing power of Microsoft or Google, which means less branding — and virtually none outside the tech community, according to Jack Gold, principal analyst at research firm J. Gold Associates. “So I don’t think Firefox will be anything more than a convenient ‘alternative’ for others,” Gold said. Of course, the Safari path is basically the default browser path on the Apple iPhone and iPad tablet. The story is very different for these devices. Chrome occupies 63.57%, Safari 24.82% and other browsers make up the rest.

Some web analytics services have already pushed Edge beyond browsers – with the exception of Chrome, which remains dominant. For example, according to the latest data from Net MarketShare, Chrome holds an impressive market share of 73.24%, Edge 12.93% and Firefox 4.73%. Safari is not among the top four browsers.

Slow adoption of Edge

Edge adoption has been slow. Initially, it experienced performance and compatibility issues on the web, which drove many users to Chrome, according to Jack Gold. However, Edge today is relatively comparable to Chrome in terms of performance, largely because it is built on the core Chromium engine. In 2020, Microsoft relaunched Edge, redesigning it with the same browser code that powers Chrome.

Not only has Microsoft Edge made an exact copy of Chrome, but it has also expanded support for versions of Windows beyond 10, including macOS and Linux. “When Microsoft moved to the Chromium engine, Edge became faster and more compatible with more websites that, due to the majority of Google Chrome browsers, were designed to be compatible with Chrome rather than legacy Edge (it had some unique requirements for full compatibility), Jack said. Gold.

Edge, the default browser in Windows 10 and 11

Microsoft has also added features to its browser, such as increased security and privacy, “coupons” for those who use them to make purchases, and improved performance, Gold noted. Edge also doesn’t have some of the issues previous versions had with some websites. “And you no longer have to use Bing as your search engine,” Gold added. Although users were never forced to use Bing, Microsoft made the switch to Google difficult.

Edge is also the default browser with Windows 10 and 11, so with the improvements to it, there is less reason for users to switch. “I think a lot of people don’t even bother to download Chrome. Edge pretty much does what they want/need,” Gould said.

Safari, the new Internet Explorer browser?

Last June, Apple unveiled a major redesign of Safari at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). However, most of these changes were quickly criticized by users who described them as “counter-intuitive”. Apple went through several iterations over the summer – on mobile and desktop – and allowed users to largely revert to the previous design of Safari prior to the release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey.

In February, Jen Simmons, Apple advocate and developer on the Web Developer Experience team on Safari and WebKit, took to Twitter to ask users their thoughts on why Safari is unpopular and ask them to report certain issues. “Everyone is in my mind [dit] That Safari is the worst, it’s the new IE,” Jen Simmons tweeted at the time. To understand the reasons for this outrage, the latter asked Twitter users to report certain bugs and lack of support that frustrate them or make building websites or apps more difficult. She wrote, “Bonus points for links Tickets.” “Exact details we can correct. She added that vague hatred is honestly counterproductive.”

Safari suffers from a lack of updates

Unlike some competing browsers, such as Firefox, Apple’s updates for Safari are rare, with major upgrades arriving only once a year. So most of the new features are published at once. While this may appeal to those who don’t like frequent browser updates, it also means that Safari upgrades and/or patches are scarce. However, in recent years, Safari has been the subject of many complaints about bugs, user interface, experience, and website compatibility, according to MacRumors.

In March, Apple launched the beta version of Safari 15.4, which was supposed to contain more than 70 additional features, such as slow loading images to reduce page load times, a dialog element that is part of an application that a user interacts with to perform a task, such as a dialog or window, and “cascading layers” (cascading layer functions), which provide developers with a way to organize style sheets, especially in CSS writing.

Despite these improvements, Safari is not at the end of its problems

Since Safari is Apple’s own, unless one is a big Apple fan, they probably won’t use Safari, Jack Gold said. “Windows devices are still more popular than Macs, so the number of PCs means Edge (and Chrome) has a massive install advantage over Safari,” he added. “I haven’t seen much use of Safari on Windows.”

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