When is 44.5 Billion a Small Number?

January 7, 2016

When it is the wrong metric to track.

Microsoft playing the number games with Edge adoption stats
Microsoft playing the number games with Edge adoption stats

44.5 billion.


That’s how long people have been using Microsoft Edge “just last month”, according to Microsoft:

Over 44.5 billion minutes spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices in just the last month.

That other number of 200 million monthly active devices using Windows 10 is much more impressive.

I am interested in Edge due to WebRTC and ORTC. It is one of the missing pieces of our puzzle to get adoption (or at least that’s what we’ve been told).

So how can 44.5 billion minutes can be so unimpressive?

Do the math.

Let’s assume only half of Windows 10 users make use of Microsoft Edge.

This gets us to an average of 445 minutes a month per user, placing it at less than 15 minutes a day (!)

How many of these minutes are spent with an idle browser? I got a laptop and a desktop open 24/7 with Chrome running on them. Even when I am engaged in other applications.

Microsoft decided to announce a largish number to hide the fact that Microsoft Edge isn’t really getting the love and adoption they expected, which is sad. I’ve used it a couple of times on my own Windows 10 laptop. It does what it is supposed to do and does it well, but that’s about it.

The challenge is migrating from Chrome. It stores my credentials to the many sites I visit, it has that nice search bar that often times just finds the URL I need without really searching (it automatically completes from its history), there are the few extensions I’ve got installed. All in all, it does the work. It is bloated and a memory hog, but the time when this mattered (a year or two ago) passed already, so there’s very little incentive for me to switch browsers.

Microsoft is killing Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 in the same day next week, pushing businesses into Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge. This might gain them a percentage or two more in adoption of Microsoft Edge – not nearly enough. Microsoft will probably announce end of life for Internet Explorer 11 in a year or two – the sooner the better if they want Microsoft Edge to grow.

What else can Microsoft do to improve its position? I don’t know. I don’t believe they can. The opportunity to surpass Google Chrome had come and gone. They will need to wait for the next opening when Google falters with Chrome or make something enticing enough for people to switch. It is sad, as Microsoft Edge is technically sound – it made browsers interesting again.

For WebRTC, Microsoft Edge still makes no difference at all. We’ve seen a few announcements of ORTC support by some vendors, but that’s about it. There’s no urgency in vendors to support it. The discussions are still about Internet Explorer when it comes to WebRTC.

Where does that leave us?

  • Companies who waiting for Microsoft to adopt WebRTC will continue to wait
  • Those who haven’t waited have made the correct choice – deal with what’s available and don’t wait for the forces that be to save you
  • While Apple might get WebRTC properly, Microsoft hasn’t. Introducing ORTC into Internet Explorer is what the market needs, but it won’t happen by Microsoft
  • Mobile is unaffected, as consumption there is done by apps, so browser adoption issues are irrelevant for most

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  1. For Web aficionados like yourself (and maybe me) I agree with you that MS Edge has missed the boat by a long stretch. We have had Chrome or Firefox running more-or-less consistently on all the platforms we care about – much more than Edge – for many years. We have browser WebRTC on almost all platforms except iOS and, as you say, easily shared profile information that is essential and expected by any multi-device person.

    Edge lives in a whole different universe of corporate users stuck on Windows machines they barely control waiting years for officially sanctioned OS updates using whatever browser comes with it. Today, millions of these users are still stuck on Internet Explorer which is why lack of WebRTC support there remains a huge pain regardless of all this Edge work. Until those many user’s machines somehow get to Windows 10, which may take many many years, they will not have WebRTC regardless of all this Edge work.

    For specific business functions, like web-oriented contact center agents, they will be instructed to download the browser that “works best” with the applications they are being asked to use, which will often be Chrome or Firefox. They get a pass because of their app needs. But for the millions of non-developers and non-aficionados on Windows….

  2. Thanks Tsahi! I agree with Lawrence as well though. W10 is a great O.S. where Chrome runs smoothly, so why care about Edge?…
    When adopting Chrome you get the a multi-platform TCB available on Mac/Linux/Windows capable to run your WebrTC solutions TODAY.
    Edge could quickly become irrelevant as it runs on Windows only…

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