Is Internet Explorer a Better Browser than Microsoft Edge?

Microsoft has surrendered once again in the browser market, deciding to give up on its own browsing engine and move Microsoft Edge to Chromium.

The company has tried to play down this migration by emphasizing that contributing to the Chromium project brings major benefits to the entire web, obviously without discussing the actual reasons that forced it to come down to such a decision.

In reality, Microsoft Edge has never become the browser Microsoft hoped it would be. Launched with much fanfare as Project Spartan, Microsoft Edge was supposed to be Redmond’s Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox killer.

Originally supposed to be able to run all Google Chrome extensions, this idea was gradually phased about, and Microsoft embraced a different approach that required developers to port their extensions to Edge and then publish them in the Microsoft Store.

The company provided all the necessary tools and documentation to make this task as easy as possible, and while some developers indeed brought their add-ons to Microsoft Edge, others showed little to no interest in doing so.

The small number of extensions, however, is considered just one of the reasons Microsoft Edge failed. And I’d say the lack of consistency, stability, and refinements is what actually turned this browser into another project that just had to go.

Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10 19H1

Looking back at Microsoft’s efforts in the browser market, it’s not necessarily surprising that Microsoft Edge eventually failed, but I think the whole thing happened way too fast. Microsoft Edge has barely reached half of the market share of Internet Explorer, the default Windows browser that it replaces and which no longer receives new features, but only security updates.

No matter if we like it or not, Internet Explorer was a browser that just got the job done. It lacked the more advanced capabilities of its rivals, but personally, I found Internet Explorer a much more stable and reliable browser overall than Microsoft Edge.

I tried giving up on Google Chrome and Vivaldi, the latter being my daily driver right now, several times in order to become a Microsoft Edge adopter, but every time I had to return because of the poor experience with the Windows 10 default. Some pages just failed to load, others weren’t rendered correctly, and there were moments when everything just felt painfully slow.

I barely experienced this behavior in Internet Explorer, though it goes without saying that 10 years ago, the web wasn’t as evolved as it is today. Comparing Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge from a security perspective, for example, doesn’t make much sense, but when putting the two side and side and analyzing their overall feature package, you could end up surprised.

Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10 19H1

There are lots of users out there sticking with Internet Explorer even today. Indeed, many do this because they have no other option, as enterprise apps or other services are specifically optimized for Internet Explorer, but there are some who just don’t need anything else than the basic feature package that provides them with an uncluttered browsing experience.

And when it comes down to this, Internet Explorer is a surprisingly good solution. Truth be told, the simple fact that it no longer gets new features is living proof it can’t be a long-term alternative to modern browsers, but as long as it’s still around, maybe it’s just worth a chance.

At this point, Internet Explorer is a second-class citizen in Windows 10, but after news of Microsoft embracing Chromium, so is Microsoft Edge. So choosing between Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge is a much more difficult task than you’d expect, as newer isn’t always the better.

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