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Firefox overtakes Microsoft’s IE and Edge browsers, but Chrome continues to dominate

TechCrunch TechCrunch 17/05/2016 Jon Russell

Microsoft may have built a new web browser that is befitting of today’s Internet, but the decision to develop Edge and deprioritize Internet Explorer might be benefitting its rivals. That’s according to a new report today from StatCounter, one of the most notable Internet tracking firms, which claims Mozilla’s Firefox browser has overtaken Edge and Internet Explorer on marketshare for the first time.

StatCounter, which takes its data from three million websites which received an estimated 15 billion page views per month, said that, as of April, Firefox represented 15.6 percent of its desktop web traffic globally, fractionally ahead of Internet Explorer and Edge’s cumulative reach of 15.5 percent.

Alll three are well behind Google Chrome, which has more than one billion users across all platforms and accounts for over 60 percent of StatCounter’s traffic, but it’s notable that Firefox had trailed the Microsoft browsers in February and March, according to StatCounter’s data. Apple’s Safari and soon-to-be-China-owned Opera are among the also-rans make up the rest of the field.

Looking back over the past year of StatCounter data — which it is important to again note is for desktop Internet traffic — April was the first time that Firefox had any kind of lead on Internet Explorer. Edge, which is only available for Windows 10, doesn’t have the marketshare to overcome that gap.

StatCounter is an interesting barometer for Internet trends — it was among the first to signal that Chrome had become the world’s most popular desktop browser — but its data represents a (large) snapshot of the total web not a definitive one. Furthermore, StatCounter itself notes that Internet Explorer and Edge are both ahead of Firefox in the U.S. and UK, two of the world’s most notable PC markets.

That could suggest that in countries where Windows 10 isn’t selling particularly well, perhaps because there are many existing machines running old versions in the market or high levels of piracy, as is the case in China and many parts of Asia, Internet Explorer is seeing higher churn than usual as older versions of the browser have been killed off.

The report could be a sign of the future, or a rogue statistic — but, either way, it’s clear that Chrome’s dominance isn’t about to be challenged any time soon.

StatCounter is less reliable for mobile traffic but, if you are wondering, Chrome is again top dog there, ahead of China’s UC Browser, Safari, Opera and the stock Android browser. Also of note: Samsung’s browser for its Galaxy devices has been on a growth spurt this year, though its share of the market remains below 10 percent, according to StatCounter.

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