Microsoft has officially confirmed that its struggling Edge web browser will be rebuilt on Google’s Chromium rendering engine, which is the same code that Chrome browser uses.
Until now, Microsoft had been using its proprietary browser engine, EdgeHTML, which was praised for its performance in some areas, but also brought frustration to web developers due to compatibility issues. With only a select number of users using Edge, developers also often did not bother about making their code compatible with the browser.
In a blog post announcing the move, Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president 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.”
“Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences,” he said.
When Belfiore says “audiences”, those audiences also include macOS users who despite having Safari, will soon gain access to Microsoft’s Edge browser as well.
The move definitely appears to be a step in the right direction for Microsoft and Edge users, as it should mean future Chromium-based versions of Edge will have features and plug-ins that are comparable with Chrome and other Chromium web engine-based browsers. But it also means that vulnerabilities in the open source project may affect a broader set of browsers.
Firefox-maker Mozilla, meanwhile, isn’t very happy about the move.
The company’s CEO Chris Beard in a blog post wrote, “Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google. Making Google more powerful is risky on many fronts.