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Microsoft bleeds IE users to Google, Chrome on top by mid-year

As users abandon Microsoft’s once dominant Web browser, Google appears to be reaping the benefits. According to the latest data from Net Applications, Microsoft’s share of the desktop browser market has plummeted by roughly 11 percent over the last 10 months. Alternatively, Google has picked up nearly all of that market share in new Chrome users.

At this rate of growth, Google will likely overtake Microsoft as the new Web browser leader. The only bright spot for Microsoft is Edge usage doubled over the last month, rising from 1.5 percent in January to 3 percent in February on one version of the Windows 10 software.

However, this is a far cry from Google Chrome or even Firefox. Edge still doesn’t support browser extensions, a feature that Microsoft is developing in order to compete more effectively with Google and Mozilla. Interestingly, Firefox growth has been extremely stagnant over the last year, holding onto just under 12 percent of users. Safari’s growth on desktops was also flat.

The migration from Microsoft browsers to Chrome may have something to do with browser prompts. For instance, if a user browses Google News on Microsoft Edge, a prompt appears at the top of the screen encouraging users to switch to Chrome. However, Microsoft is also aggressive in pushing users to Edge, simply by using a Windows 10 prompt to ask users if they want to reset their default browser.

The popularity of Google Chrome may also be attributed to Google’s commitment to a speedy development cycle with browser improvements. With new updates rolling out to users every six to eight weeks, Chrome users have seen significant upgrades over the last few years.  Chrome 49, due in early March, is expected to bring additional speed improvements in the form of a new compression algorithm.