It’s a brand new period for Microsoft. After dominating the early internet with Internet Explorer and struggling to attain the identical prominence with Edge, the corporate at the moment introduced it is going to be transitioning its browser to a Chromium-based platform in 2019.
If you may’t beat ’em, be a part of ’em.
But Microsoft doesn’t simply see the transfer as a case of giving in to the competitors. By incorporating Google’s Chromium into Edge on the desktop, together with different sweeping adjustments being introduced at the moment, the corporate goals to enhance its browser in a means that wasn’t possible earlier than. If you ask me, it’s a very good factor for everybody.
Compatibility is the largest motive behind the change. Edge works nicely sufficient more often than not, positive, however with a fraction of Chromium’s adoption, builders aren’t practically as inclined to guarantee their websites work correctly with Edge. And as quickly as a website doesn’t correctly, folks change over to one other browser – most likely Chrome.
The firm had already made contributions to Chromium, similar to enhancements for touch-based scrolling (which used to be terrible), accessibility, and compatibility with ARM devices on Windows. But now it gets to have a much larger say in Chromium’s development, and in turn, the web as a whole.
Moving over to Chromium has another benefit: more frequent releases. Previously, new versions of Edge were only deployed with Windows updates, leading to serious fragmentation. The only way to have the latest version of Edge was to have the latest version of Windows. Given how reluctant people can be to update their OS, it left users vulnerable to compatibility and security updates. It also made rolling out Edge a pain for IT departments.
Now Microsoft will be able to deliver updates as they’re introduced to Chromium, ensuring Edge is as compatible with web standards as any other Chromium-based browser, and likely enabling Chromium extensions down the road. Microsoft also says moving to Chromium will allow them to bring the browser to other platforms – get ready for Edge on the Mac.
There’s a counterargument to be made that moving to Chromium is robbing the web of already scarce diversity and competition. The move removes one of the few major Chromium alternatives left – effectively just Firefox and Safari.
But on the other hand, one could argue that the competition has simply moved within Chromium, as Microsoft wrestles away some power from Google in Chromium’s development. The difference is that instead of only improving its own browser, Microsoft’s contribution to the platform could help improve Chromium-based browsers everywhere. A rising tide raises all ships, as they say.
That said, you’ll have to wait a while before you can try the new Chromium-based Edge. Microsoft expects to have a build available for developers in “early 2019.” Stay tuned.