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Opera cries foul over Microsoft Edge power-slurping claims

Begun, the browser battery wars have

By Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2016

Microsoft's claim that its Edge browser is the thriftiest with power has drawn a sharp response from rival browser biz Opera, who called for open testing to work out which app provides better battery life.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released research which, it claims, shows that the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10 uses less power than its rivals – although it didn't include its own legacy Internet Explorer browser in that test. But Opera claims its openly replicable tests tell a different story.

"Like most other engineering teams, we love it when someone picks a fight. If we get beaten in a test like this, we consider it a bug," said Opera's director of software development, Blazej Kazmierczak.

Edge hadn't been included in Opera's earlier testing because it was a Windows 10-only browser, he said, but using the same test methodology as before, the Edge laptop crapped out at three hours 12 minutes compared to Opera, which managed five minutes short of four hours.

Kazmierczak published the testing metrics used in the tests and launched an implicit challenge for Redmond in return. Microsoft declined to comment to The Reg officially, but Edge program manager Kyle Pflug disputed Opera's findings online.

Opera is the perennial red-headed stepchild of the browser world – currently hovering at about 2 per cent of the desktop market and 5 per cent of mobile compared to more than a third of the market for Microsoft – but has skin in the game when it comes to power usage.

The underdog has made battery use a big selling point of its latest build and, in a cloudy world, many users are starting to wake up to how much power their browser is costing them. Google's market-leading Chrome has been rightly criticized for being overly power and memory-hungry, and since browsers are typically the most used app on a computer, others are using this as a selling point.

Chrome has nearly half of the desktop browser market, and the lion's share of the mobile sector via Android. So far there's little sign that the search giant is ready to play the power-saving game. ®

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