The rumors were true, a new version of Microsoft Edge using the Chromium rendering engine is in the works, and it’ll be available for Windows 10 as well as for Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS.
In a new article at the official Windows Blog, Microsoft has confirmed that’s abandoning its EdgeHTML web rendering engine in favor of Chromium, which is the same engine that powers Google Chrome. According to the company, the move aims to “create better web compatibility […] and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.”
However, this doesn’t mean the end for Microsoft Edge, or its name. The software giant is only replacing the web rendering engine under-the-hood, which means that the web browser you know will continue to exist with the interface and (most) features, including backward compatibility for Internet Explorer sites. The only difference will be a noticeable improvement of consistency when rendering websites.
The reason Microsoft is changing direction
Although the company has been working hard on modernizing its web browser, the adoption rate from users and developers have been falling significantly behind Chrome.
Chromium is an open-source web rendering engine created by Google, which became popular thanks to the massive adoption of the Chrome browser across devices. No surprising, it’s also the preferred rendering engine by web developers and even Google to optimize their websites and services as Chromium is usually the first to adopt new web technologies.
Because of the lack of interest from developers and adoption from users, Microsoft is throwing the towel and embracing Chromium, which will help the company to solve many compatibility issues while offering a more consistent experience.
Microsoft Edge is coming to older versions of Windows and macOS
Alongside the rebuild of Microsoft Edge, the software giant is also announcing that is bringing its browser to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 as an executable that you’ll be able to download and install on your device running the older version of the operating system.
Furthermore, Microsoft Edge will also be available for macOS users, which signals that the browser will no longer be an exclusive feature of Windows 10. As a result, Microsoft will be able to update the browser more frequently, and users will no longer have to wait until a new feature update releases to get new improvements and features on Edge.
However, the decision to bring the browser to macOS isn’t to gain more market share, instead the idea is to allow web developers using Apple devices to build and test their websites and services without having to use a second device or dual-boot system to use Windows 10.
Microsoft Edge is moving into the right direction
Ultimately, this is a good thing. Microsoft Edge isn’t a money maker for Microsoft and making this move means that both, Edge and Chrome will only get better on Windows 10 as the company is also committing to contribute to the web platform.
Working with open source isn’t something new for Edge. In fact, the version of the browser for Android is based on this idea, and the company has also been working closely with Google to bring Chrome to Windows 10 running on ARM-based devices.
Microsoft Edge using Chromium release date
Microsoft hasn’t revealed an specific release date for the new version of Edge, but it’s expected that testers will be able to get their hands on a preview in early 2019. Also, there’s a release date for the macOS version, but we can only assume that it’ll happen sometime in 2019.