The rumor was true, Microsoft is reworking its Edge browser on Windows 10 so that it will based on the Chromium open source project. Microsoft CVP Joe Belfiore made the big announcement today and explained that it was all about creating “better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.”
Now that this transition has begun, Belfiore also said that Microsoft intends to become a major contributor to the Chromium open source project, and do work that will make all existing Chromium-based browsers run better on Windows 10. Moreover Microsoft’s participation will also “help move browsing forward on new ARM-based Windows devices,” Belfiore said.
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. For developers, this also means that they will no longer have to optimize their websites for Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft plans to begin this transition to Chromium next year, and the change should be invisible for users. Belfiore also said that the transition will be an opportunity for Microsoft to make Edge evolve much faster going forward, while also making possible to port the browser on macOS.
It will take some time for Microsoft to rebuild its Edge browser on Windows 10, and Belfiore didn't announce when the new Chromium-based version will ship to all Windows 10 users. However, a preview version should be available for Windows Insiders in early 2019, and Microsoft is already inviting web developers to sign up for the program to test their websites with the new browser.
As Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers are now the norm in 2018, it was nearly impossible for Microsoft to bring developers to optimize their websites for Edge, especially since iOS and Android versions didn't use its EdgeHTML engine. Sound off in the comments if you think Microsoft had no other choices to help Edge stay relevant on the desktop.