Microsoft confirms the rumors that it is working on a Chromium-based browser. Edge as we know it is dead and will be replaced by a new version running on the same engine as Google Chrome.
“Today we announce that we plan to use the Chromium 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,” explains Joe Belfiore of Microsoft’s decision in a blog post.
Although Microsoft itself does not see it as such, the decision can be regarded as a defeat for its own EdgeHTML engine. Microsoft spent years perfecting the rendering engine and now just puts all that work aside.
Next year, Microsoft will build a new version of Edge based on Chromium, the open source project on which Googles Chrome-brower also relies. A first preview build should be available in early 2019.
An immediate advantage of the switch to Chromium is that the new browser will also work on Windows 7 and 8, as well as macOS in the long run. In addition, browser updates are disconnected from Windows updates and the browser will support Chrome extensions.
The focus of Chromium Edge will be on optimizing performance and battery life, just as it is now. In this respect, Microsoft could make a difference compared to Google Chrome, which is known to devour an awful lot of RAM.
Microsoft already uses open source code for its mobile browsers on Android and iOS today because the EdgeHTML engine does not work on these platforms. Belfiore emphasizes that the company wants to become a major contributor to the Chromium project. For example, it already added code to make the engine compatible with Windows 10 on ARM.our launch article.