Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Microsoft to rebuild Edge with Chrome technology

Microsoft to rebuild Edge with Chrome technology

To accomplish this, we will evolve the browser code more broadly, so that our distribution model offers an updated Microsoft Edge experience + platform across all supported versions of Windows, while still maintaining the benefits of the browser's close integration with Windows.

Compatibility is the biggest reason behind the change. Edge is going to be rebuilt in Chromium, a change that will happen under the hood and will mostly go unnoticed by users. And as soon as a site doesn't properly, people switch over to another browser - probably Chrome.

While the company is not commenting on any timeline for availability aside from a preview build in early 2019, the basics are this: it's building a new version of Edge, based on Chromium, that will be updated at a cadence that is not tied to Windows updates. "Together we seek the best outcome for all people who use the web across many devices", Microsoft wrote. The moving to a Chromium-base changes that and that is a good thing. The only way to have the latest version of Edge was to have the latest version of Windows. If users ran into an issue, they would just move to Chrome even if they had given Edge a chance.

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. It also made rolling out Edge a pain for IT departments.

That's ultimately great news for users, because it means that any websites or web apps that have been written for full Chromium support will also work and look exactly the same when the new browser is released. With this move they are also supporting Edge on all supported versions of Windows and will be more frequently updating the browser.

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Does Microsoft's new direction with Edge mean Edge finally will be available from the Microsoft Store?

In any case, once Chromium adoption ensures the web is rendered as expected, most of the differences people care about will be on the UI and features front.

The move to Chromium as the underpinnings of Edge should improve the situation quite a bit. But it's also a tacit acknowledgement that Google's Chrome and Chromium rendering technology have become today's dominant web standard. For any web browser to have a chance at competing, it needs to be available in as many places as possible.

While technical details are still scarce at this point, it sounds like Microsoft plans to replace its EdgeHTML rendering engine (which was a fork of its MSHTML "Trident" rendering engine) with Chromium's Blink.

In addition, Edge has been powered by Chromium on Android already, so the team is at least somewhat familiar with what it can do. That's an inarguable truth as Chromium, which powers the Chrome browser and Chrome OS, has grown to be a whole platform, as the browser and Chromebooks have sat at the front of the pack.

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