The blog post by Joe Belfiore, VP of Windows stated: “we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.”
What does this shift to Chromium mean?
Gradually, over the course of 2019, Edge will have under the hood changes. These changes will be developed in open source and the key aspects are:
- The development of Microsoft Edge will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for the desktop version. They intend to align Microsoft Edge simultaneously with web standards and also with other Chromium-based browsers. This improves compatibility for everyone and make testing easier for developers.
- Working on an open-source engine like Chromium allows Microsoft to deliver more frequent updates to Edge. Microsoft Edge is currently available on Windows, this shift can get Edge running on other OSes like Linux and macOS.
- Microsoft also intends to contribute more to the open-source engine Chromium to make Chromium-based browsers better on Windows devices.
A user doesn’t have to worry much about this change. If anything this might bring Chrome-like extensions to Edge. If you’re a web developer, you can go to the Microsoft Insider website to try preview builds and contribute.
Currently, Chrome holds arguably most of the market share in the browser space. Microsoft had problems working with EdgeHTML and building a browser that would be widely adopted. Perhaps basing Edge on Chromium will actually make people want to use Chrome.
Now two tech behemoths will use the same engine to create their browser. This could mean more competition within the Chromium ecosystem. Where does this leave Mozilla Firefox that uses the Gecko engine and Opera that uses Blink?
For more details about the engine shift, visit the Microsoft website.