At the start of 2016, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was still the most commonly used browser on the Web; it finished 2015 being used by about 46 percent of Web users, with 32 percent preferring Chrome, and 12 percent using Firefox. But Explorer’s days have been numbered ever since Microsoft essentially ended its development. While the venerable browser is still supported and still gets security updates, its features and standard support have been frozen since 2015. Instead, Microsoft shifted active development to Edge, its new browser. While Edge is faster, more secure, and boasts much better support for Web standards, it’s only available for Windows 10, which greatly limits its audience.

(All figures taken from Net Market Share unless otherwise noted.)

The landscape looked very different at the end of 2016. Chrome surged to command 56 percent of the market, while Internet Explorer plummeted to just under 21 percent. Edge isn’t being completely ignored by Web users—it started the year on 2.8 percent and finished on 5.3 percent—but it seems to be underperforming its predecessor. At the start of 2016, Windows 10 was used by 10 percent of Web users. By the end of 2016, this figure reached 24 percent—a solid performance for a new Microsoft operating system that was no doubt buoyed by the free upgrade offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. Among gamers, Edge is performing better: according to the Steam hardware survey, Windows 10 just passed 50 percent of Steam users at the end of the year. That growth came at the expense of older Windows versions; Windows 7 dropped from 56 to 48 percent, Windows XP from 11 to 9 percent, and Windows 8.1 from 10 to 7 percent.

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Author: Peter Bright