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Microsoft's browsers return to losing habits, fall to 25% share

Microsoft's browsers return to losing habits, fall to 25% share

Chrome continues march towards 60%; Firefox slips under 12% again

Microsoft's browsers last month relapsed into bad habits, again losing significant usage share to end January with just over 25%, a milepost that would have been rejected as absurdly low only a year and a half ago.

According to data published Wednesday by analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of IE and Edge -- an estimate of the proportion of the world's personal computer owners who ran those browsers -- fell by a percentage point last month to a combined 25.2%.

The one-point decline of IE + Edge was substantially larger than the drop of December, when Computerworld interpreted that month's seven-tenths of a point reduction as a sign that Microsoft's browsers might be nearing the end of their slide. Instead, January's quickening silenced that signal.

By Net Applications' measurements, IE has already dropped under the 20% mark -- for January, the former kingpin accounted for 19.7% -- and the gains by Edge, which added just 0.15 of a percentage point to its share in the month, have not been nearly enough to cover IE's decay. For January, Edge accounted for 5.5% of all browsers.

Projections of the IE + Edge combination hint at an increasingly ugly future. IE and Edge could fall under 20% as soon as April, and likely no later than June, according to the 12- and three-month trends in the Net Applications data.

January's biggest beneficiary was again Chrome, which added another 1.4 percentage points to its user share, reaching a record 57.9%. Computerworld's forecast -- again using Net Applications' data trends -- puts Chrome over the 60% bar by the end of April at the latest.

Mozilla's Firefox, which in the last third of 2016 recovered much of the share it lost earlier in the year, returned to its slump, losing half a percentage point and dropping to 11.8%.

Although Microsoft has tried to promote Edge -- yesterday the firm touted changes and feature additions to the browser due in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update -- the effort has not paid off. Last month, just 22% of all Windows 10 users ran Edge as their primary browser, down from 26% a year earlier.

Edge hasn't accounted for more than a third of all Windows 10 browsers since October 2015.

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