Microsoft confirms plan to rebuild Edge browser using Chromium on Windows 10

Microsoft is reportedly replacing Edge with a Chromium-based browser

Microsoft is reportedly replacing Edge with a Chromium-based browser

Microsoft hopes to release an early preview build of the new Microsoft Edge sometime in early 2019. There's a reason Microsoft didn't opt to go with UWP, and it's because Microsoft is prioritizing bringing Edge to other platforms over making it exclusive to Windows 10.

As announced on the Windows Blog, Microsoft plans to "adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop", which means that it will continue to develop Edge-not replace it-using the Chromium rendering engine.

Now, it is being killed off in favour of a new browser that uses the same open source "Chromium" code as Google's Chrome browser and its ChromeOS software for netbooks. The browser is pre-installed with Windows 10, the operating system often recommends that people abandon a third-party browser in favor of Microsoft's offering, and it even toyed with notifications begging Windows Insider Program members to give Edge a chance as they installed a competitor.

'Chrome has been a champion of the open web since inception and we welcome Microsoft to the community of Chromium contributors, ' it said.

Microsoft's Edge team added: "We are making this decision for the long term".

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.

Edge was first introduced as a future replacement to Internet Explorer with the launch of Windows 10 in July 2015, but has failed to gain much traction over Google's dominant Chrome Web browser. Up until now, Google has been the only major player contributing code to the Chromium project, but now Microsoft is in the game and is ready to commit code to improve Chromium.

That new browser is said to now carry the codename Anaheim, and will replace Edge as the default browser for Windows 10. All in, this is great news for anyone who struggled with Edge and the fact that websites and web apps simply didn't play well with it from the beginning.

Microsoft wants Edge to be taken seriously, and bringing it to new platforms in addition to rebuilding it using a technology most people love, should help shift its reputation. The change in rendering engine will make Edge faster and also makes things easier for developers.

Despite being the built-in browser on Windows 10, which is installed on around 700 million active devices, Edge owns just a tiny fraction of the desktop browsing market.

I never understood why Edge was not available for other supported Windows versions; it felt like a huge oversight on Microsoft's part.

It's sad that the web has evolved into this, and although you can't really compare the world of IE6 to today, there are similarities there that can't be forgotten, but for Microsoft and its users, this is a good move, and we look forward to seeing how the project evolves.

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