Microsoft may be finally ditching its Edge browser tech for Windows 10 and begin to depend fully on it as its general browser software.
Windows Central revealed the new browser is codenamed Anaheim and will use software from Chromium, Google’s open source project on which Chrome is based. It will particularly use Blink, the browser engine that interprets website coding and displays it on the screen, the report said. The Verge reports that an announcement about the plans could come this week.
The news has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft but a source familiar with the company’s plans confirmed that Microsoft does plan to package its own browser software on the platform of Chromium.
There are two sides to this development if it turns out to be true. The good news would be that programmers would be saved the stress of testing their software with many browsers. The bad side though would be the monopolizing of the web, as it will become whatever Google Chrome programmers decide it is. Chrome is the most used Browser in the world, only after 10 years of its existence.
The web already lost a major independent browser engine when Opera mostly killed its own Presto in 2013, ultimately moving to Chrome’s technology. There are still two browser forces independent from Chrome: Mozilla’s Firefox, which uses the Gecko browser engine, and Apple’s Safari, which uses WebKit.
Independent projects are useful for experimenting with new technology such as Firefox’s WebRender, which could make web pages display dramatically faster. Independent engines also let browser makers and web developers figure out the best way to balance priorities like security, speed, and programmability when developing new web standards.
Edge, which is based on the EdgeHTML rendering engine, has struggled since it came to Windows 10 in 2015 as a replacement for Internet Explorer. It held a little over 2 percent of the browser market in November, according to StatCounter, while Chrome ruled overall at 62 percent.
Edge lags even Internet Explorer, the browser it was designed to replace. One part of the problem: Windows 7 remains widely used, but Edge runs only on Windows 10. So even though Edge and EdgeHTML help offers an independent voice about the future of the web, they didn’t have much clout in practice.
There’s change afoot with other browsers as well. Chrome itself just underwent its first redesign in a decade — Google has been rethinking its browser to keep pace with the massive shift from desktop computing to mobile. Apple’s Safari has been incorporating new privacy features, and Mozilla’s Firefox has been adjusting its approach to ad tracker blocking. The ad-blocking Brave browser is in the midst of a major overhaul, too.
Microsoft’s Edge browser for Android already uses Google’s browser technology, too.
If Microsoft eventually moves to Chromium technology, it will be joining top companies like Opera, Samsung, Brave, Vivaldi, Yandex and Baidu
In September, Microsoft reversed course on a hostile approach to non-Edge browsers on Windows 10 by removing a warning against installing rival browsers from a test version