On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it will adopt the Chromium open source project for its Microsoft Edge web browser on the desktop, "to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers". But there were earlier signs that Microsoft planned to play nice with Google's open source project, including reports that the company was helping to bring Chrome to Windows 10 on Arm devices as a native app instead of an emulated version of one.
"For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects". When Edge was released for mobile devices a year ago, Microsoft made the Android version based on Chromium - like nearly every other Android web browser. "We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS". Edge is notably light on battery life, especially compared to Chrome, and the updated version likely won't function much different from Chrome.
Microsoft has also confirmed it will be breaking Edge apart from the standard Windows update path, which means Edge will be able to get updates a lot faster and in a more streamlined fashion, as it won't rely on getting an update to the entire Windows platform.More news: Lead singer of The Buzzcocks Pete Shelley dead at 63
Microsoft's first tasks in switching to Chromium will include porting work to ensure Chromium support for Arm64, adding Microsoft UI Automation (UIA) interfaces to improve accessibility on Chromium, improving desktop touch for modern Windows devices, and patterning with the Chromium security team.
No matter your position on Microsoft's announcement this week that it is moving its Edge browser to the Chromium engine in 2019, one thing's for sure: it has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. The open-source Web rendering engine is already available to the masses through Google's Chrome browser. There is also a possibility that Microsoft Edge will be launched for Mac OS X or other platforms in the future. Microsoft didn't want to be left out in the cold in the same way it was left behind in smartphones, so it is making this move to become an active participant in Chromium. This makes Chromium and its Blink engine the most popular on the web due to Chrome's inherent popularity and omnipresence.
But Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, is no fan of the move. Despite trying to keep up, only 4% of the web users depend on Edge while 68% still use Chrome.
Microsoft's decision to abandon its own EdgeHTML rendering engine and adopt Google's Chromium is bad news for competition and consumer choice, says Firefox maker Mozilla.