Microsoft confirms Edge is moving to Chromium

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Microsoft is moving Edge to the Chromium platform, which is open-sourced.

After rumours circulated that such a move was imminent, Microsoft has confirmed that it is indeed shifting from its EdgeHTML back end to Chromium, the open-source project that powers Google Chrome.

Microsoft intends to contribute to upstream Chromium and over the next year will switch over to the Edge-on-Chromium for their desktop builds. It's unclear if many Mac users will make a move from Safari to Edge, but options are always welcome in any case.

Microsoft decided with this release that they'd be sending Edge to Apple computers, too.

If you're the type who likes to get eyes on beta versions of software before it hits the masses, there's also an Insider Program for the Edge browser.

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Perhaps the bigger news is that the new version of Edge will be coming to MacOS, though it's not expected to have a large uptake on this platform.

A rough timeline has been provided, indicating the steps to meld Microsoft Edge and Chromium.

With this announcement, Microsoft is declaring EdgeHTML, the rendering engine and web development platform underpinning Edge, to be a failed project.

The shift to a Chromium base should make Edge work much better with websites that are optimized for Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers.

The move to Chromium as the underpinnings of Edge should improve the situation quite a bit.

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While the company is not commenting on any timeline for availability aside from a preview build in early 2019, the basics are this: it's building a new version of Edge, based on Chromium, that will be updated at a cadence that is not tied to Windows updates.

In response to the news, Google said: "Chrome has been a champion of the open web since inception and we welcome Microsoft to the community of Chromium contributors".

Microsoft wants Edge to be taken seriously, and bringing it to new platforms in addition to rebuilding it using a technology most people love, should help shift its reputation. However, we believe that everything that makes Edge unique, such as its focus on inking, providing an excellent reading and PDF experience, will still be there in the new Edge. Microsoft, like every other browser maker, has long claimed that its offering is the best-performing and most full-featured on the market. And, of course it will save Microsoft resources.

There's still lots that Microsoft needs to work out with the new version of Edge, and I'm sure we'll be hearing about those plans in the near future. The new browser will also come to Windows 7 and Windows 8, and will update independently of Windows updates. Edge works well enough most of the time, sure, but with a fraction of Chromium's adoption, developers aren't almost as inclined to assure their sites work properly with Edge.

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