Microsoft will officially rebuild Edge as a Chromium-based browser

The end of the browser wars: Microsoft to switch toapp based on same technology as Google's Chrome

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

The goal is to bring the rebuilt Edge browser to Windows 7, 8 and 10, in addition to other platforms such as Apple's macOS. Microsoft has confirmed that it's replacing the proprietary EdgeHTML engine adopted by its Windows 10 browser with the open source Chromium engine used by Google Chrome. Microsoft has committed to still advancing web standards, and bringing the current advantages from Edge over to Chromium, such as the accessibility and security features.

Whether or not you buy into Microsoft's love of open source software will play a role in how optimistic you are (or are not) in its plans to "create better web compatibility" by embracing Chromium. For developers, this also means that they will no longer have to optimize their websites for Microsoft Edge. Once Edge shifts to a Chromium foundation, the company intends to deliver browser updates for all Windows versions "on a more frequent cadence".

Microsoft is not just slipping the Blink rendering engine of Chromium into the existing app on Windows 10; it is building the entire browser again using Chromium. But that hasn't stopped many Windows 10 users from installing Chrome, Firefox, or other alternative browsers so they won't have to use this era's Internet Explorer.

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

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Perhaps the bigger news is that the new version of Edge will be coming to MacOS, though it's not expected to have a large uptake on this platform. Microsoft has contributed to Chromium in the past to gain support for Chromium on ARM-based Windows devices. Currently, Edge updates are tied with Windows 10 updates, which means it only gets a handful of updates throughout the year but once it's decoupled from the OS, it can be updated as often as required across all platforms. However, we believe that everything that makes Edge unique, such as its focus on inking, providing an excellent reading and PDF experience, will still be there in the new Edge.

Unknown was whether Microsoft would keep the Edge name or give the browser a new name and whether the user interface between Edge and Anaheim would differ. The only way to have the latest version of Edge was to have the latest version of Windows.

Will Microsoft's decision make it harder for Firefox to prosper? Google forks its own version of Chromium and adds all the Google-ly services and functions into it. Microsoft is essentially going to do the same using its own services and functions. By switching Edge to Chromium, Microsoft can leverage some of that popularity and jump ahead of the queue instead of being in a constant battle with web developers and changing goalposts.

Belfiore also suggested that the change represents less of a revolution and more of an evolution for Edge. We'll know more in early 2019 when a preview build of the new Edge will be available for insider testing.

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