A Microsoft web browser is finally relevant again thanks to Chromium-powered Edge

Rebuilding atop Chromium turns out to be the best decision Microsoft has made in a long time.

SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Since its release two months ago, Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser has managed to build its market share to just over 7 percent, NetMarketShare reports. That’s a sizable increase from the browser’s 5 percent share this time last year.

Browser market share from March 2019 to March 2020, excluding Google Chrome.NetMarketShare

Microsoft took a bit of a leap of faith last year when it decided to rebuild Edge around Chromium, the base upon which Google Chrome is built. It seems that’s paid off — Microsoft is now a serious competitor in the browser wars, where once it had almost fallen out of public favor completely.

Top of the bottom — Here’s the thing about the web browser market: Google owns it. The race isn’t even close. Google’s Chrome browser is used by a massive 70 percent of the market, a number that has only continued to grow over time. Chrome first took its crown eight years ago, and it’s never abdicated the throne since.

While Chrome continues to thrive, every other web browser is forced to fight for the top spots at the bottom of the pack. Firefox has long been the second-most-used browser, hovering around a 7 percent market share. Now Edge has apparently taken over the number-two spot.

Features and availability have won for Edge — Edge is running more smoothly than ever before, thanks to its new Chromium base. But its surge in popularity goes beyond just faster loading times. The redesign brought Google’s extremely popular Chrome extensions to Edge for the first time, and Microsoft even made a tool to easily port a user’s favorite extensions into the new browser.

The Chromium-powered Edge also marks the first time the browser has been available to macOS users. Though it’s unlikely many Apple users would choose Microsoft’s browser over Chrome or the default Safari browser, it’s possible this has contributed to the bump in market share.

It looks like Microsoft’s latest browser offering is finally finding its groove. Its resurgence even spooked Google into tricking users that it’s unsafe to install Chrome extensions on the Edge browser — a tactic that has blessedly now been put to rest. Edge won’t be killing Google Chrome any time soon, but the browser is certainly giving other competitors a run for their money.