Microsoft's Edge Browser to Adopt Google's Chromium Engine

Donna Miller
December 7, 2018

Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers.

Besides, the decision to implement Chromium does give Edge one clear benefit, which is the fact that it should be easier to bring the browser to macOS and older versions of Windows instead of restricting it to Windows 10.

Now Microsoft will be able to deliver updates as they're introduced to Chromium, ensuring Edge is as compatible with web standards as any other Chromium-based browser, and likely enabling Chromium extensions down the road. Belfiore said that the Microsoft Edge people use today isn't changing but that Microsoft would evolve the browser code more broadly and offer an updated Microsoft Edge experience.

Redmond says that the move to Chromium will create better web compatibility for customers and less fragmentation of the web for developers. Edge currently suffers from compatibility issues with some websites, many of which are now optimized to run properly on Chrome.

Microsoft will also be porting Edge over to "all supported versions of Windows", like Windows 7, and other platforms such as macOS.

Microsoft has wasted no time confirming the recent rumors: the Edge browser is dead.

VentureBeat has asked Google and Mozilla, the non-profit behind the Firefox browser, what they thought of the announcement.

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"Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects".

Microsoft intends to contribute to upstream Chromium and over the next year will switch over to the Edge-on-Chromium for their desktop builds.

All that being said, you'll have to wait a while before you can try the new Chromium-based Edge.

Interesting from the perspective of a Windows user is that the new Edge won't be Windows 10 exclusive anymore. The company was trying to constantly update its rendering engine while also trying to add new features to the browser; resources were spread thin. In addition, Microsoft says it will update Edge more frequently.

The company had already made contributions to Chromium, such as improvements for touch-based scrolling (which used to be awful), accessibility, and compatibility with ARM devices on Windows. The most-used desktop app continues to be the browser. Of course, the new Edge will still tie into your Microsoft account and sync your passwords, bookmarks, and other data across devices. The new variant, codenamed Anaheim, will be rebuilt on the Chromium platform and use the Blink rendering engine and V8 JavaScript engine.

While Google started Chromium, Microsoft is free to take Chromium and "make it their own".

Belfiore also suggested that the change represents less of a revolution and more of an evolution for Edge. That's Microsoft's new motto when it comes to browsers. Even though Microsoft officials have said over the years that their plan was to make Edge a Store app, it sounds like Microsoft intends to make it available as a download for non-Windows 10 platforms and not as a Store app for consistency's sake. What are your thoughts on the news? Let us know below.

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