Microsoft's next browser might be based on Chromium
Remember the browser wars? In 1995, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer and started bundling it with Windows in order to snatch away market share from the then-dominant browser, Netscape. It worked — in the early naughts, all everyone ever used for browsing was Internet Explorer.
But then came the alternatives: Firefox in 2004 and Google's Chrome 2008. These browsers were faster and more advanced than Internet Explorer and they slowly chipped away at Microsoft's browser market share, prompting Microsoft to essentially kill IE in 2015 and replace it with Edge.
Now, however, we may be near the point in which Microsoft throws in the towel and switches to a browser based on Chromium, Google's open-source browser project upon which Chrome (and several other browser, like Brave or Opera) is built.
According to a report from Windows Central, Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser, codenamed "Anaheim," which will replace Edge as the default browser on Windows 10.
The report claims that Edge's rendering engine, EdgeHTML, is "dead" though it's unclear whether the new browser will live under the Edge brand or be called something else entirely.
The news comes shortly after 9to5Google spotted that a pair of Microsoft developers were contributing to Chromium. Though those commits were related to a Chrome version for ARM processor, it's possible that some of the work will end up being used in Microsoft's new, Chromium-based browser as well.
The news is big, though not entirely unexpected. Edge never managed to get traction with users; it currently has 4.34% market share according to NetMarketShare, compared to Chrome's 63.6%. Even Microsoft's largely deprecated Internet Explorer stands much better, with a 11.19% market share. But if Microsoft, which once dominated the web browser market, really starts pushing a Chromium-based browser as Windows default, it surely has to feel like defeat.
For users, the news is probably good. In recent years, Chrome (more precisely, its browser engine, Blink) has basically become the standard for rendering the web. A Microsoft-made Chromium-based browser would render web pages nearly identically as Chrome, meaning less confusion over which web site works well in what browser.
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