Rumor: Microsoft dropping Edge browser in favor of Chromium
The rumors keep on coming. After yesterday's rumor that Microsoft is working on Windows Lite, the next attempt at conquering lost territory in the classroom and in education, Windows Central reports that Microsoft will replace Edge on Windows 10 with a Chromium-powered web browser.
Microsoft Edge was Microsoft's attempt at creating a modern web browser on the Windows platform; the company hoped that Edge would help it regain marketshare in the browser market that it lost to Google and the Chrome browser for the most part.
Microsoft integrated Edge as the main browser and Internet Explorer for backward compatibility in Windows 10. The company did not port Edge to previous versions of Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.
Developers who did not run Windows 10 had to use virtual machines to test web projects and services against Edge.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft is "building a new web browser powered by Chromium" and that this new browser, called Anaheim internally, will replace Edge as the default browser.
Chromium is the open source part of Google Chrome; it is a popular choice among browser developers, Vivaldi and Opera use it as the base for their browsers.
While it is unclear if the new browser will use the Edge brand or how it will look like, it is certain that EdgeHTML, the rendering engine used by Microsoft Edge, won't make it in the new browser according to Windows Central.
The decision has far reaching consequences if true. With Edge gone, and Internet Explorer not gaining any traction either, only two major browser bases are left: Chromium and Firefox.
Google Chrome dominates the market already and with Microsoft dropping its own EdgeHTML engine in favor of Chromium, Chromium's position would even be more dominating than it already is.
Microsoft would likely save development resources and money as it would not have to build things from scratch anymore.
It remains to be seen how well that transition sits with Edge users. Much would depend on whether import functionality is provided by the new browser, its looks, and whether it replicates Edge's most popular features.
The new browser could make an appearance on platforms that it is not available on yet: Linux, Mac OS X, and maybe even on older versions of Windows.
Microsoft's Edge browser is available for Android and iOS already, and it uses the native rendering engine on these platforms which means that Microsoft could continue to work on that version. Whether that is indeed the case remains to be seen.
I tried to use Edge in the past, I really did but ran into so many annoyances and issues, that I could not use it as my main driver. Microsoft moving away from Edge may introduce a default web browser that is more stable than Edge but it moves the web towards a monoculture that introduces new issues especially for competing products.
For now, it is just a rumor; we have to wait for Microsoft to confirm or deny it.
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