The rumors were true: Microsoft Edge switches to the open source platform Chromium, the platform that also supports Google's Chrome browser. Once this is done, Microsoft also brings Edge to macOS. In addition, Microsoft Edge is decoupling from the Windows update process to provide a faster update cadence – making the new Edge available to users of both Windows 7 and 8.
It will take a while This happens, however. There is no code to test today, and the first previews are months away. But sometime in 2019, Microsoft's EdgeHTML and Chakra will disappear and Blink and V8 will take their place. The company expects to release a first developer preview early next year.
There is a lot to pack here, of course. However, it's clear that Microsoft recognizes that Chrome and Chromium are the de facto standard for both users and developers today.
Over the years, especially after Microsoft broke the Internet Explorer brand, Edge chose the company Mostly, it becomes a perfectly usable browser, but Microsoft recognizes that compatibility issues have always arisen. While Microsoft has invested a great deal in solving these issues, it is a very pragmatic message: it has simply not been worth investing in technical resources. What Microsoft had to do, after all, was the reversal of problems in certain locations.
This is partly because Edge has never quite captured market share enough to test their code on the platform. And with the web as big as it is, the long tail of incompatible sites remains huge.
With many web developers working on Macs without access to Edge, testing has become even more of a consideration. Therefore, Microsoft's efforts to bring Edge to the Mac 15 years after the Internet Explorer for Mac was abandoned. The company does not expect Edge to gain significant market share on the Mac, but believes that availability across all platforms will result in more developers testing their web apps with Edge.
Microsoft admits It did not help that Edge only worked on Windows 10 – and that Edge updates were tied to Windows updates. I've never been quite sure why this was the case, but as Microsoft will now happily acknowledge it means that millions of users of older versions of Windows have been left behind, and even Windows 10 users often have not gotten the latest, most compatible version from Edge, because their companies have gone through a few updates.
With this move, Microsoft also plans to increase its involvement in the Chromium community. That means Chromium brings along some of the work that Edge does really well with touchscreens, for example. As previously reported, the company is now publicly announcing that it is working with Google and Qualcomm to implement a native Chrome browser implementation on ARM on Windows 10, making it crispier and more battery-friendly than its current release instructed is emulation.
Microsoft hopes users will still be drawn to their browsers if they are past the compatibility issues because they are different. Maybe this is the Cortana integration or a new integration with Windows and Office. Or they may be new consumer services or features designed to help business users make life easier for IT managers.
When the rumors of this change first came up a few days ago, a number of experts argued in it. For the Internet, this is not very good as it gives the Chromium project even more power over web standards.
I share some of these concerns, but Microsoft makes a very pragmatic case for that move, noting that Edge's low market share does not make it a bummer anyway. By becoming more active in the Chromium community, she has more voice – she hopes – and can champion web standards and bring her own innovations to Chromium.
is probably the most complex software currently running on your computer. That means to exchange engines is anything but trivial. The company does not describe exactly what its development process will look like and how it will handle it, but we are told that the company is reviewing what parts of the edge experience it should retain, and then working with the Chromium community to help it to bring the Chromium engine.
Microsoft points out that Edge is not abandoned, by the way. The browser is not going anywhere. If you're a satisfied Edge user today, chances are that this will make you an even happier Edge user. Otherwise, Microsoft hopes you'll get a fresh look when you launch the new Chromium-based version. It is now up to Microsoft to build a browser so differentiated that people will try again.