Top web browsers 2018: It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ for IE and Edge

Top web browsers 2018: It's 'Groundhog Day' for IE and Edge

Microsoft’s browsers last month continued to slouch toward invisibility as the combined user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge fell to yet another record low.

According to California-based analytics company Net Applications, IE’s and Edge’s share dropped by a quarter of a percentage point in October, ending at 13.8%, a record for the century and a number not seen by Microsoft since IE first took on Netscape Navigator in the 1990s.

On its own IE – the 23-year-old browser last updated nearly three years ago – slipped nearly half a percentage point to just 9.5%. (Edge, the default browser for Windows 10, made up for some of IE’s decline by climbing a quarter of a point.)

Net Applications calculates user share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers people run to reach clients’ websites. The firm then tallies the visitor sessions – site visits, essentially, with multiple sessions possible daily – rather than count users, as it once did. In plainer terms, Net Applications’ data represents browser user activity.

What’s happening to IE and Edge?

Microsoft’s browsers have been trapped in a repetitive story of decline, decline and more decline.

After years of dominance, IE started its free fall after Microsoft announced that Windows users would be forced to upgrade to the latest version. Since then, IE has lost 84% of the user share it owned in August 2014, when the company delivered the upgrade-or-else ultimatum. Those losses accelerated in the months after January 2016, when the requirement began to be enforced.

The long-term result? Disaster.

There have been only the most fleeting of signals that the decline of IE, or even IE + Edge, will stop. Any pause in the downward trip has been fleeting – at most, two months – and always immediately followed by losses that erase the upswing.