One of Google’s most successful products beyond search is obviously its browser, Chrome. And 2016 was an epic year for Chrome at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Even Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, baked into the nearly 400 million computers using Windows 10, hasn’t stopped people from fleeing Microsoft’s browsers.
So far in 2016, IE and Edge have lost about 331 million users, reports Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer, based on data from Net Applications, a website that tracks the market share of operating systems and browsers on the internet.
Internet Explorer began the year at about 44% of market share and ended October at about 23% (Edge started the year at about 3% and ended at 5%). Chrome started 2016 at 35% market share and ended the October at 55%.
Microsoft lost 40 million browser users in October alone, Keizer calculates.
There’s a certain irony to this. Way back in 2001, the US Department of Justice successfully sued Microsoft for embedding Internet Explorer into Windows and snuffing out other browser makers, namely Netscape. Netscape was the company and product that initially turned Marc Andreessen into a tech tycoon. The DOJ argued that Microsoft had abused its basic monopoly status with Windows to drive out competition in other software areas. Microsoft was subject to a decade of of DOJ oversight and the case was one of the big reasons why founder Bill Gates left the CEO role.
It’s 2016 and Microsoft has not lost its leading position in the PC world. It still accounts for 91% of the desktops, and for much of that time, the fact that IE was included with Windows made it the most popular browser in the world. For most of 2015, IE had over 50% of the share and Chrome about 27% share.
But, if Microsoft’s decline in browser continues the way it has been this year, by the end of 2016, IE will drop below the 25% mark.