There was a time many years ago when Microsoft owned the browser space thanks to a combination of shady dealings and limited choices. Those days are long gone, and now Microsoft’s revamped Edge browser is but a tiny sliver of the browser market. The situation is so dire that Redmond is reportedly throwing in the towel on Edge as it currently exists. Sources tell Windows Central that Microsoft is ending development of Edge to build a new Chromium-based browser.
Microsoft debuted Edge with Windows 10 in 2015, but it got a slow start thanks to bugs and a lack of features. It’s the default in Windows, which is still the most popular desktop operating system in the world. Microsoft designed Edge to be faster and simpler than its past browsers with the custom EdgeHTML engine, but there are still various Microsoft features like Cortana, OneDrive, and Bing crammed in.
Windows 10 can seem rather desperate at times as it almost begs you to use Edge. There have been taskbar pop-ups, notification nags, and default app alerts. Microsoft recently scrapped plans to “warn” users when they tried to use a different browser. Despite all of this, the most common use for Edge on Windows 10 is to download Chrome.
The Chromium project is open source, allowing anyone to take the code and make a new browser just like Google makes Chrome. Microsoft is reportedly working on a modified version of Chromium’s Blink rendering engine called Anaheim. In the way of supporting evidence, Microsoft developers have popped up in the Chromium project, committing code to get the Windows version of the browser working on ARM platforms.
So, the new browser should render pages just like Chrome. Microsoft always touts optimizations in Edge that make it more power-efficient on Windows. Hopefully, Anaheim will retain that optimization while improving page rendering. If so, I’m sure Microsoft will tell you all about it in a pop-up or notification.
Microsoft has opted not to comment on the report publicly. For the time being, Edge is still the company’s browser of choice. However, Windows Central claims the Chromium-based replacement will be in development throughout the first half of 2019. It’s possible the Edge brand will survive — certainly, nothing would stop Microsoft from calling its new browser “Edge.” However, the Edge brand hasn’t exactly won a lot of hearts and minds. It might be better to make a clean break.
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