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Microsoft's revamped Edge browser has a new rendering engine and a focus on business users. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is announcing today that its Bing search engine and Edge web browser will now focus primarily on business users.

Why it matters: For Bing, the move is a recognition that a years-long effort to take on Google in the broad-based search business has failed. In browsers, meanwhile, the shift is a sign of how far the mighty have fallen: Two decades ago, Microsoft's Internet Explorer dominated the browser market so thoroughly it was seen as a monopoly.

Details: Microsoft is adding new features to the products to enhance their business appeal, including unified web search with search on a company's internal network, as well as new privacy and security features.

"We’re trying to stake a claim of saying we are the best browser and search engine for business users," Longtime Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi said in an interview. "We think people who browse the web in general may actually want to use it for their personal lives."That said, not many consumers have been choosing Microsoft for their browsing or search needs.

  • Microsoft's browsers have been losing share for some time, largely to Google's Chrome but also to Firefox and Apple's Safari. Globally, neither IE nor Edge are in the top 5 browsers, with even Opera and Samsung ahead of Microsoft's two offerings. In the U.S., Microsoft fares somewhat better, with Edge the No. 4 browser with nearly 4% of the market and IE holding 3.2%, per StatCounter.
  • In search, Bing has less than 3% of the global market, with Google having more than 90%. In the U.S., Bing holds 6.3%, with Google controlling more than 88%.

In addition to repositioning its Edge browser, Microsoft has been busy swapping out its core rendering engine to use Chromium, the engine that powers Chrome and a number of other browsers.

  • The newly revamped Edge is being made available now as a release candidate, with broad availability scheduled for mid-January.
  • Microsoft is making the announcements at its Ignite conference, which kicks off today in Orlando.

Go deeper

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

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