Microsoft Edge will going to switch to Chromium, Windows 7, 8 and macOS support

microsoft edge switch to chromium


Microsoft is announcing some significant changes to its Edge browser today. The software giant is beginning to rebuild Microsoft Edge to run on Chromium, the same open-source web rendering engine that powers Google’s Chrome browser. This means Edge will soon be powered by Blink and the V8 JavaScript engines. It’s a big move that means Microsoft is joining the open-source community in a much bigger way for the web.

Microsoft confirmed earlier rumors that it will be rebuilding Edge on the Chromium platform. It will also be bringing the browsers to more platforms, including Windows 7, 8 and macOS.

The Microsoft Edge browser currently runs on the EdgeHTML engine. The new variant, codenamed Anaheim, will be rebuilt on the Chromium platform and use the Blink rendering engine and V8 JavaScript engine. Chromium is an open source browser platform developed by Google and is the basis of Google’s own Chrome as well as Opera. This makes Chromium and its Blink engine the most popular on the web due to Chrome’s inherent popularity and omnipresence.

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The switch is largely to take advantage of this popularity. Edge currently suffers from compatibility issues with some websites, many of which are now optimized to run properly on Chrome. By switching Edge to Chromium, Microsoft can leverage some of that popularity and jump ahead of the queue instead of being in a constant battle with web developers and changing goalposts.

The move to Chromium is largely going to be something that’s only under the hood. As far as the users are concerned, nothing really is going to change on the surface (no pun intended) and Edge will continue to operate as before, just with better compatibility.

microsoft edge switch to chromium

Because Chromium is open source, Microsoft will also be giving back to the community, causing other Chromium browsers such as Chrome to improve as well on Windows.

The second important part of this story is that Microsoft will also be bringing this new version of Edge to more platforms. Instead of being exclusively baked into Windows 10, Edge will now be a downloadable browser on all platforms, including Windows 7, Windows 8 and, macOS. The rationale here being making developmental work easy across all platforms but it won’t hurt to increase the user base as well.

This will also mean the new version of Edge will be updated more frequently. Currently, Edge updates are tied with Windows 10 updates, which means it only gets a handful of updates throughout the year but once it’s decoupled from the OS, it can be updated as often as required across all platforms.

There are no concrete launch dates for this browser yet. Betas may start showing up early next year but we may be a year or so from release.

Microsoft is only just starting to disclose this platform shift to other companies involved in the Chromium project, and the company isn’t ready to start distributing daily builds of Edge running with Chromium just yet. Those beta builds will start early next year, before Microsoft makes the necessary changes in Windows 10 to shift Edge toward Chromium. We expect to see Windows 10 move to this Chromium-based version of Chrome sometime in 2019.

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Microsoft now wants to collaborate with Apple, Google, and everyone else who also commits changes to Chromium. “If you’re part of the open-source community developing browsers, we invite you to collaborate with us as we build the future of Microsoft Edge and contribute to the Chromium project,” says Belfiore. “We are excited about the opportunity to be an even-more-active part of this community and bring the best of Microsoft forward to continue to make the web better for everyone.”


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