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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Microsoft May Replace Edge’s Rendering Engine with an Open Source Chromium Fork

You know what they say: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s exactly what Microsoft is doing after years of trying to make Edge work as a browser—but it’s probably not totally replacing it.

Yesterday, a rumor popped up that Microsoft is building a new browser to replace Edge, but this time it’s based on Chromium—the same open source engine on which Google Chrome is based. While that may be the case, we don’t think that this new browser will “replace” Edge, we think it is Edge.

Microsoft has put a lot of work into making Edge, well, a really good browser. The interface is excellent, and it has the best touch interface for tablets of any browser available on Windows. It’s unlikely Microsoft is going to throw that away and start from scratch.

Instead, it’s more likely that Microsoft will move away from EdgeHTML and build this new version of Edge with the open source Chromium rendering engine. Further, it’s also unlikely they’ll ship a version of Edge that’s simply powered by the Chromium engine, but instead will probably build a specific fork of the Chromium engine designed for the specific goals they want to meet with this new version of Edge.

The implications here are bigger than just a newer version of Edge with an improved rendering engine, though: it also means that Microsoft will be using an open source engine in its browser. That move means all the major browsers—Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera—will all be using open source software. That’s great for everyone, especially since it could potentially mean better browsers across the board. For example, if Microsoft does something innovative with its fork of the Chromium engine, Google could then easily add that to Chrome.

According to The Verge, we could see an announcement with this new project as early as this week, but until then we’ll file this under strictly under the “rumor” category, and as such note that any detail of this could change between now and an official release.



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