Today Microsoft has officially announced it is going to abandon its EdgeHTML and Chakra scripting engines, and move to Chromium for their first-party web browser, Microsoft Edge. This is big news for the company that once dominated the web browsing market. There’s a lot of reasons for this change, and the move is a good one, but it’s also a little sad for the web as a whole.

Despite being the built-in browser on Windows 10, which is installed on around 700 million active devices, Edge owns just a tiny fraction of the desktop browsing market. Google Chrome is far and away the leader here, and with Google’s relentless update schedule, there is no indication of this reversing anytime soon. I recall when Google Chrome was first launched, and wondered if the world really needed yet another browser, and clearly the answer was no. The only thing was the no was not for Chrome.

With such a small share of the market, and Edge only available on Windows 10, developers would often never even see if a website worked on Edge or not. Even though Edge was the most standards compliant browser Microsoft ever shipped, that still was not enough for a perfect web experience on every site. If users ran into an issue, they would just move to Chrome even if they had given Edge a chance.

The move to Chromium as the underpinnings of Edge should improve the situation quite a bit. As well, Microsoft will be releasing versions of Edge based on Chromium for Windows 7, Windows 8, and even macOS, in addition to Windows 10. This should help developers who use those platforms test Edge if they need to.

In addition, Edge has been powered by Chromium on Android already, so the team is at least somewhat familiar with what it can do.

Goodbye EdgeHTML - we hardly knew you

Microsoft is has been heavily involved in open-sourcing its own software lately, and with Edge it will now join the Chromium community with their own contributions. Microsoft has committed to still advancing web standards, and bringing the current advantages from Edge over to Chromium, such as the accessibility and security features. By embracing Chromium, they will be having a much larger impact on the web than they ever could have maintaining their own code, so it should be a win for people who never even use Edge.

It’s sad that the web has evolved into this, and although you can’t really compare the world of IE6 to today, there are similarities there that can’t be forgotten, but for Microsoft and its users, this is a good move, and we look forward to seeing how the project evolves.

Source: Microsoft Edge on Github

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  • Samus - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    It's also be unprofessional to put a photo with ads in an article. So proper editing at its finest right there.
  • PeachNCream - Monday, December 10, 2018 - link

    Exactly right. There is nothing wrong with a screenshot that doesn't have ads on it. Although, I do generally think Anandtech's site is an atrocity without an ad blocker and NoScript running.
  • willis936 - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    I hadn't realized that ad blockers weren't working while browsing as a guest on chrome until I came to anandtech. The situation is so bad that I refused to even attempt to read the site with ads. If the site really needs ads to live then they had better make them reasonable enough that the people running the site would choose to browse without ad blockers.
  • lakedude - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    I think this is a big shame. Internet Explorer was terrible for many years lacking basic features like spell check and tabbed browsing but Edge was a decent browser. Having fewer choices is not a good thing. When one browser does not meet your needs it is nice to be able to use another. Chrome is typically my first choice with Firefox coming in quite handy under some circumstances. I admit to not using Edge very often but I like having 3x different browsers, just in case...
  • tuxRoller - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure what platform you're on but webkit browsers are still a thing (and not just on Mac!).
  • piroroadkill - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Isn't Blink really just Webkit?
  • nevcairiel - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    It started out being WebKit, but how long does it take to be considered truely its own thing?
  • jordanclock - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Isn't Firefox really just Netscape?
  • Samus - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Webkit is based on the Chromium codebase, so I'd put Safari in the same boat. It's not just the default browser on MacOS but the browser on nearly 500 million active iOS devices worldwide.
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, December 9, 2018 - link

    You've got it reversed. Google split Blink out of Webkit.

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