Browser Trends June 2016: Microsoft Misfortune

By Craig Buckler

Microsoft EdgeMozilla finally overtook Microsoft during April 2016. Do the latest StatCounter browser statistics hold any cheer for IE and Edge? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, April to May 2016

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past month.

Browser April May change relative
Chrome 56.89% 57.07% +0.18% +0.30%
Firefox 14.24% 14.50% +0.26% +1.80%
IE11 9.02% 8.65% -0.37% -4.10%
oldIE 3.11% 2.73% -0.38% -12.20%
Edge 2.10% 2.29% +0.19% +9.00%
Safari 4.20% 4.32% +0.12% +2.90%
iPad Safari 5.26% 5.35% +0.09% +1.70%
Opera 1.83% 1.80% -0.03% -1.60%
Others 3.35% 3.29% -0.06% -1.80%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, May 2015 to May 2016

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past twelve months:

Browser May 2015 May 2016 change relative
Chrome 49.36% 57.07% +7.71% +15.60%
Firefox 16.39% 14.50% -1.89% -11.50%
IE11 10.83% 8.65% -2.18% -20.10%
oldIE 7.45% 2.73% -4.72% -63.40%
Safari 10.82% 9.67% -1.15% -10.60%
Opera 1.62% 1.80% +0.18% +11.10%
Others 3.53% 5.58% +2.05% +58.10%

(The tables show market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column is the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. Edge’s userbase grew 9% last month. There are several caveats, so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

I’ve rearranged the statistics into approximate usage order. Edge and IE11 are counted separately, but IE10 and below are wrapped into the increasingly irrelevant oldIE category, which now accounts for less than 3% of the market.

Edge is growing its user base by up to 10% per month, but it’s not gaining users at the rate IE is dropping. IE11 remains a capable browser, but development has been abandoned and usage is falling accordingly. Edge is solid competitor to Chrome and Firefox, but it only runs on Windows 10 — and not everyone is able or willing to migrate yet.

Ironically, Microsoft is doing everything we ask of them. They:

The Microsoft ecosystem still feels a little disjointed when compared to Google: online login can be painful, collaboration isn’t as slick, Outlook’s HTML email view is poor, Office does not support SVG, Edge extensions are yet to arrive, and non-Windows OS software can be patchy. Google and Apple need strong competitors, but Microsoft are playing catch-up and it’s not been enough to stem the flow of users. They can succeed, but innovation will be the only way to win.

As for the other browsers, Firefox’s small jump during April consolidated its position at #2, with a 0.83% advantage over IE/Edge. Chrome increased slightly, and it was a relatively good month for Safari, given the recent drop in form.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, April to May 2016

Mobile usage jumped by a huge 2.25% during May and now accounts for 45.81% of all web activity. Warmer weather in the northern hemisphere may account for some of that increase, but we’re within reach of the promised 50:50 split.

The top mobile browsing applications for the month were:

Mobile Browser April May change relative
Chrome 34.17% 34.44% +0.27% +0.80%
UC Browser 19.75% 20.49% +0.74% +3.70%
iPhone 17.48% 17.36% -0.12% -0.70%
Opera Mini/Mobile 10.90% 10.98% +0.08% +0.70%
Android 8.30% 7.68% -0.62% -7.50%
Samsung Internet 5.71% 5.46% -0.25% -4.40%
IEMobile 1.60% 1.52% -0.08% -5.00%
Others 2.09% 2.07% -0.02% -1.00%

Application usage remained similar to April, although it seems the Samsung surge has ended. Perhaps people have stopped using their shiny new S7s every few minutes?!

The main mobile news is Microsoft’s disposal of the Nokia brand just two years after their $7.2 billion takeover. Nokia’s aging feature phone business has been sold to FIH Mobile Ltd for $350 million and 1,000 jobs were cut. Ouch. Nokia’s old models still rank as the most popular ever sold, but the brand is set to disappear into obscurity.

Rumors remain about a new Surface Phone, but Microsoft has struggled in the mobile arena. Windows phones are generally well made, fast and intuitive, but they arrived too late on the market and struggle from a lack of native apps. I suspect Microsoft will shelve their mobile ambitions.

  • Spud

    I’ll be honest, after having androids for years I’ve enjoyed my windows phone over the last 18+ months, and other work colleagues on various Android and Apple phones have also stated how slick it looks and wanted a go. What it does lack is the apps, as stated in the article. Where a common app doesn’t exist, (lets say for example, Strava), there is always an alternative (Striva), or another app that you can then move the data into your original app (e.g. Strava will import Endomondo gpx data), but this is obviously an extra task that is too much for some to bother with. The argument as always has been to write one yourself, but not everyone wants to, so goes to the easiest choice. In the end neither option is going to be as slick as having the original app, and I can only assume that the cycling / running specific examples I’ve used above are mirrored in other apps elsewhere.

    In the end the lack of Apps killed of this otherwise nice to use phone, which seems to have a better battery life, wifi coverage camera (other than the Sony) and speed of it’s competitors, and that’s a real shame.

    • Craig Buckler

      I agree. Windows phones are great compared to similarly-priced Android devices (I suspect Microsoft offers some hefty discounts).

      Few users install apps and rarely use them when they do. A lack of apps shouldn’t be a problem for many but, for me, the phones don’t have things I depend on such as Gmail, Trello, Pocket and Keep. You can often use web versions, native or alternative apps but life is never as easy.

      The other big advantage of Android is the seamless web/mobile experience. I can be up and running on any new phone in minutes – my emails, contacts, calendar, tasks, etc. simply appear. The same is possible on a Windows phone but it’s a little more effort and integration isn’t as slick.

      The Windows devices deserved to do better but Microsoft were caught off-guard and arrived too late to in market saturated with iPhone and Android devices. That said, iPhones don’t have the kudos they once had and Android development has slowed. Microsoft may be leaving the market at the wrong time…

      • Guilherme

        “The other big advantage of Android is the seamless web/mobile
        experience. I can be up and running on any new phone in minutes – my
        emails, contacts, calendar, tasks, etc. simply appear.”
        That’s true… if you use the google ecosystem. I use Microsoft’s, and if I need to use a new phone, I just have to log in with my MS account and it will not only sync my contacts, but will also sync my apps and etc.

        • Craig Buckler

          That’s a good point although I suspect most people use one or two Google services even if they’re primarily Microsoft users. Gmail is also significantly more popular than Outlook and, while Windows phones handle Gmail accounts reasonably well, it’s not as good as the Android Gmail app.

          Google could have released a Windows phone edition of Gmail but it’s considerable effort for a small market and it would have helped Windows compete with their own mobile platform.

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