Microsoft has withdrawn support for the original, HTML-based version of its web browser Edge, which will no longer receive new features and security updates.
Now referred to as Edge Legacy, the defunct browser has been superseded by a Chromium-based version, which went live just over a year ago and comes with all the trappings of a modern web browser.
Microsoft has encouraged users to switch to Edge Chromium since its arrival, but will now take that decision out of their hands. A Windows 10 update set to roll out next month will automatically replace the old version with the new.
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The company is also in the process of sunsetting another web browser, Internet Explorer. After a run of more than 25 years, the browser will come to the end of a phased termination process on August 17.
The retirement of Edge Legacy is unlikely to be met with much backlash, given the almost universally positive reception the new Chromium-based version has received since launch.
Microsoft has thrown its full weight behind Edge Chromium in recent months, with a raft of new features and optimizations. These improvements are also mapped by the browser’s performance in the charts.
On its current trajectory, according to Statcounter data, Edge will soon overtake established rival Firefox in the rankings, which would be a serious coup for Microsoft.
Although Firefox still currently has a larger overall share (3.76%) than Edge (3.41%), the former’s numbers have remained almost constant for the past twelve months, even dipping slightly.
Microsoft’s browser, on the other hand, has enjoyed steady growth since last April that, if maintained, will see it surpass Mozilla’s offering within the next couple of months.
Although Edge is still a minor player in comparison to market leader Chrome (which holds a 63.59% share), Microsoft will be encouraged by its early performance. The main caveat is that a large proportion of users appear to have migrated from the company’s defunct browsers, Internet Explorer and Edge Legacy.
To continue on its current growth trajectory, then, Edge will need to find a way to snatch users from the largest fish in the market: Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
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