"Ultimately, we want to enhance the web experience for many different audiences," said Joe Belfiore, Vice President, President of Windows. "Users using Microsoft Edge (and possibly other browsers) will see improved compatibility with all Web sites, while getting the best possible battery life and hardware integration on all types of Windows devices."
Microsoft Edge is not removed nor is the brand name. If you already use Edge on Windows, it will not change. All you'll eventually realize is that sites will be more consistent when Microsoft makes that change under the hood.
Why is Microsoft changing its rendering engine? Why now? Edge has fallen behind in terms of market share massive behind Chrome and comes to the point where Chrome is the new IE6. The developers optimize for Chrome, and Google has also developed Chrome-only web services, as it is often the first to use emerging web technologies. Microsoft has struggled to reconcile its edge rendering engine with Chromium.
The Verge has understood that Microsoft has considered this move for at least a year, and much of the effort has been from consumers and companies that wanted to improve web compatibility. Edge has improved in this regard, but even minor compatibility issues have caused problems for users that way. Moving to Chromium will immediately solve these web compatibility issues and align Edge to Chrome and other browsers that also use Blink.
Microsoft has heard loud and clear from companies that the company should support a modern edge browser in all areas versions of Windows. In many businesses, computers running Windows 7 and Windows 10 are installed in a mixed environment. As a result, Microsoft brings Edge for Windows 7 and Windows 8 and decouples it to be exclusive to Windows 10. Edge becomes a downloadable executable for all supported versions of Windows, meaning Microsoft can update it much more frequently than before. It's not clear if this will happen monthly, but it's certainly not tied to any major Windows 10 update.
Another important part of Edge's overhaul concerns developers. Many web developers use a Mac to develop and test sites, but Edge does not exist there. Currently, it is difficult to test Microsoft's Web rendering engine on a Mac without double booting from Windows. Microsoft now brings Edge on the Mac. We understand that this is not a step to gain more market share. It's about making it easier for developers to test Edge. Although Microsoft has not set a specific date for Edge on the Mac, we expect to see it next year later.
Work means that ultimately the browser engine that supports Chrome will get better on Windows. Microsoft is committed to contributing to web platform enhancements that improve both Edge and Chrome on Windows, including touch performance, accessibility features, and support for ARM-based versions of Windows. Microsoft has worked closely with Google engineers to support a native version of Chrome on Windows for ARM, which will soon be available as a result of this work.
Microsoft is just beginning to share this platform relocation with others involved in the Chromium project, and the company is not yet ready to distribute Chromium's daily builds from Edge. These beta releases will begin early next year before Microsoft makes the necessary changes in Windows 10 to move Edge towards Chromium. We expect Windows 10 to move to this Chromium-based version of Chrome sometime in 2019.
Microsoft now wants to work with Apple, Google, and anyone else who also makes changes to Chromium. "If you're part of the open source community that develops browsers, we invite you to work with us to shape the future of Microsoft Edge and contribute to the Chromium project," says Belfiore. "We are excited about the opportunity to be an even more active part of this community and to promote the best of Microsoft to continue to make the Web better for everyone."