Microsoft Reportedly Killing Edge in Favour of a New Chromium-Based Browser

Posted on December 4, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 10 with 75 Comments

Living on the (Microsoft) Edge in 2018?

Microsoft is reportedly killing Windows 10’s default browser, Microsoft Edge. The browser, first launched in 2015 along with Windows 10, struggled to get much traction, and continues to scramble with stability issues to date.

Killing Edge and its rendering engine, EdgeHTML, will mean Microsoft will need to build something new for Windows 10. And it’s apparently building a new Chromium-based browser to replace Edge, according to Windows Central.

The product, currently codenamed Anaheim, will be based on Google’s Chromium browser. The new browser will practically be the same as Google Chrome, and likely include heavy Microsoft-flavoured customization and integration for Microsoft’s services and Microsoft Accounts.

Moving away from EdgeHTML, for Microsoft and Windows 10, is kind of a big deal. For one, EdgeHTML is used by Universal Windows Platform apps for web wrappers and similar features, so it would be interesting to see if Microsoft continues using EdgeHTML or replaces the browser engine in UWP with Chromium as well. And secondly, moving to Chromium means Microsoft will practically lose all the unique selling points of Edge — mainly, performance.

Microsoft has continued to boast about Edge’s performance features over Chrome and other browsers for years, and I don’t think Anaheim will be able to be as fast as Edge, meaning there won’t be much to differentiate between Chrome and Anaheim if Microsoft does end up using Chromium.

And that could still, theoretically, be a good thing. Considering the fact that many users don’t use Edge because of the stability issues, moving to a Chromium-based browser could remove the need for even having to use Chrome in the first place. And for users that really care about their privacy and security, that could be a solid alternative. Plus, you will get to use all the solid Chrome extensions that are available on the Chrome Web Store over the subpar Edge extensions.

Plus, Microsoft already uses Chromium for Edge on Android, so the experience likely won’t differ much on Anaheim. My guess here is that Microsoft will stick with the design of Edge (which I am a big fan of), but change things up behind the scenes.

It’s also possible everything, including the branding, could go through a major overhaul — and that’d make a lot of sense considering Edge’s negative image.


Tagged with , , , , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (79)

79 responses to “Microsoft Reportedly Killing Edge in Favour of a New Chromium-Based Browser”

  1. Brumfondl

    A new name... hmm... Got it!


  2. NT6.1

    First, we kill Edge in favor to a cross platform browser engine. Second, we add more 3 years of support to Windows 7 and release a Service Pack 2. Third, we develop the true Windows 7 successor, favoring Win32. Revamped Control Panel, Files, Paint, Photos and all essential tools. No spyware. No annoying mobile apps. No annoying touch UI. No annoying updates twice a year. A new iso once a year with performance improvements. A monthly update with security patches. A new Windows Aero UI that is fully implemented into the OS. Just call it Windows and have two versions: Windows Home (for average users) and Windows Pro (for professionals and companies).

  3. lightbody

    I think this is a shame. For one thing, having one hugely dominant browser platform isn't good. Secondly, I really like Edge! On my PCs it uses massively less resources than Chrome, to the point that I actually uninstalled Chrome.

  4. moruobai

    Microsoft taking so many L's

    I've been a fan of Edge since day 1. I too hope they keep design of Edge and change what is under the hood (less all the resource processing that Chrome does when it's not open).

  5. Boris Zakharin

    Why would anybody use such a thing? If they want a Chromium browser, they'll use Chrome. If they were using Edge before, well, then why change it?

    • Stooks

      In reply to bzakharin:

      I hate the fact that I need to use Chrome because of Google. Chrome is simply the most compatible and supported browser out there. I have tried a lot and eventually come back to Chrome.

      I would switch to Microsoft's version of Chromium, provided I can sync my book marks/logins and use the handful of plugins (ad blockers) with the Microsoft version.

  6. Daekar

    I really don't understand this, because I don't believe for a second it will make a material difference in the UX or adoption rates. Despite very odd insistence to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with Edge - it's fast, stable, easy to use, has the extensions I need (more than most people need)... it's absolutely fine. If there is nothing wrong with it, then creating another browser that also has nothing wrong with it won't fix the problem.

  7. jaredthegeek

    Would them forking Chromium mean that they could get it to perform better on Windows than Chrome. They could beat Google at their own game. At least this means its not baked in and can be updated easier.

  8. TigerTom

    I know I'll be in the minority here but I like and use edge exclusively.

    It opens considerably faster on my laptop than chrome or firefox, Speedwise its on par with the other browsers but it has the nicest interface (subjective I know).

    Shame really, if they had detached up from the 6 monthly cycle and aggressively updated it, it may have helped. It's come a long way since Win 10 was first released.

    Although being a MS browser it is always going to have a lot of stigma attached to it.

    Lets just hope every browser using Chromium now doesn't stifle innovation.

  9. solomonrex

    This is kind of stunning. They owned this space for so long. They put IE on the Mac and then took it off.

    Edge was weird for me, for sure. Our IT dept can't seem to manage it, it gets reset every session. Then, this Windows 10 native browser built by MS has less responsive windowing than Chrome, which is just weird. Other than that, I kind of liked it. UI-wise, at least. Use it on Android, too.

    Maybe now they can end the 'Try Edge On Mobile' Ads that persist months after I've been using Edge on mobile daily!

  10. warren

    Edge's support for newer standards & candidate recommendations is really starting to drag behind.

    For example, rel="noopener" is a way to open new browser tabs/windows without the new window knowing who opened it. Edge is the only remaining browser to not support this and has been the case for about a year and a half now.

    There's also the input type="file" accept="image/*" stuff.... every other browser supports opening the file selection dialog with a file type filter. Edge does not. Firefox has had this for, like, six years. It's not a major thing, but it's a thing.

    A lot of the other things that Edge doesn't support are edge-cases and optimizations (such as the CSS will-change property) but the lack of commitment to back-filling these items is concerning. And it's not like they aren't continuing to add stuff.... EdgeHTML 18 was a really nice step forward in some areas, but it's definitely slowed down even relative to the April 2018 Update.

  11. bluvg

    "moving to Chromium means Microsoft will practically lose all the unique selling points of Edge — mainly, performance."

    Couldn't it still incorporate Chakra, etc.?

  12. bluvg

    I'm excited about this as I favor Chrome over Edge, but there are some problems with Chrome in a business environment (though Chrome beats Edge in this area as well, surprisingly!) that Microsoft will hopefully resolve:

    • Seamless authentication with Office 365 (Edge does it, Chrome doesn't)
    • Compatibility with User Profile Disks (Chrome is not compatible)
  13. glenn8878

    Windows => Android next? Kidding.

    How soon?  They can't make this announcement and let us wait 6 months or longer.

  14. skane2600

    IMO MS would be better off just making a deal to bundle Chrome than trying to make a "Chrome Jr".

  15. JaviAl

    The main problem with Edge is that is an ugly, limited, featureless and mobile UWP app. Users wants real desktop applications like Chrome, Firefox, etc.

  16. Jeff Jones

    If they adopt the separate account system that Chrome has where you sign into the browser with multiple different microsoft accounts (and not tie it to the Windows login) so that you can get separate bookmarks, cookies, etc, side by side, they might have a browser I can use. For me, that was the killer feature that made Chrome indispensable.

  17. waethorn

    "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"

    Techies hate Microsoft browsers, but for the mass market Joe Blows and their Mom's, the "blue e at the bottom of the screen" is "The Internet", so Microsoft would be dumb to change that IMO unless they want to completely alienate Best Buy consumers.

    Techies will still just use it to download Firefox or Chrome.

  18. SvenJ

    Personally I kind of like looking at the processes on my PC and not finding half of them related to a web browser that isn't open.

  19. siv

    I just hope they get syncing to work properly. One the reasons I use Firefox is that I know once I enter my sync account into Firefox and authenticate the new install, all my bookmarks, passwords and settings are immediately restored. Which is brilliant. Edge could never get that right and I never seemed to end up with anything being synced properly.

    Let's hope they get that right. To me once you have entered you MS Account everything that is MS related on your new PC should be the same as it was on the old one and this just does not work when I do it? I don't know if it's something in my MS Account or what but if it is I can't find it?

  20. FalseAgent

    Microsoft makes Edge: "it doesn't have enough to differentiate itself from Chrome"

    Microsoft makes Chrome-based browser: "it won't have enough to differentiate itself from Chrome"

    really tired of all these piss poor takes.

    I really hope Microsoft gets rid of the 'e' icon. Kill it with fire. There are normies who still think it's Internet Explorer just because of the stupid icon.

  21. Thomas Parkison

    Good! Because Microsoft Edge is a steaming pile of crap!!!

    MSHTML, which is the rendering engine behind the scenes of both Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, is outdated especially when compared to that of more modern (and younger) browser rendering engines like Firefox and Chromium-based engines. MSHTML has been hacked on and added on for decades and you can just tell how badly the engine is struggling under the load of modern web pages that you can just hear it creaking under the load. Time to chuck it onto the garbage pile of history and get rid of it!

  22. madthinus

    The problem with Edge is not the renderer.

  23. beckerrt

    If they come up with yet another brand name for this browser they are insane. Just call it Internet Explorer and be done with it.

  24. christian.hvid

    Edge is a perfect example of how various Microsoft divisions continue to undermine each other. Case in point: the Microsoft Teams web site, which for a very long time didn't support any other browser than Chrome. Everyone on the Office 365 team realizes that it only takes a handful of these roadblocks until users start abandoning Edge, and yet they don't care. As the Orange One would put it: SAD!

    Still, it's a perfectly rational decision. Building your own browser engine, when the gold standard that the rest of the world is coalescing around is open source, amounts to no more than a very expensive vanity project. So, good for you, Microsoft. Now, if only Apple would follow suit...

  25. mrlinux11

    I guess this is their way of getting chrome into the App Store , so Windows S mode can take off.

  26. dcdevito

    I think this undoubtedly has something to do with Electron.

  27. thalter

    I think everyone is making more of this that it is. This is more about cost savings than anything else. A modern operating system has to provide a web browser of some sort, so that people who are unable or unwilling to install their own browser will have one. Most modern applications expect a browser to be present on the system for opening links and rendering HTML, so Microsoft can't not include a browser with Windows.

    So if Microsoft has to provide a browser of some sort with Windows, what to do? IE is dead and buried, and licensing another browser like Chrome or Opera is not realistic for such a core operating system function. EdgeHTML likely requires a large team to develop, maintain and secure, so why not use the open-source Chromium engine instead, especially if you are already using that engine for the iOS and Android versions of Edge. Simple economics.

  28. My Hell baby speaking

    Next get rid of the kernel, all the substrata not defining the gui and exchange it for a Linux kernel, Microsoft. Let the users benefit from better scalability, performance and security of Linux. You can do it!

  29. gregsedwards

    Frankly, I think this is a lot of hype over nothing. First off, I'm dubious about Microsoft flat-out killing anything, either EdgeHTML or the browser itself. I think it will likely be far more nuanced than that. It's far more likely that there will be low-level changes to Edge that will simply make it work better and more consistently for end-users.

    Ask most people what rendering engine their browser users, and they probably couldn't tell Chromium from WebKit...just like you probably can't tell whether your favorite web app is written in Electron or React. It's under the hood. There's no reason that the browser - the user-facing application that runs on top of the rendering engine - couldn't intelligently switch between any of several engines, allowing it to adapt as needed.

    I think Microsoft has invested too deeply in Edge to just abandon that brand and say, "Oh hey, here's yet another new browser." You think nobody uses Edge now? Just wait until they try launching Spartan 2.0...or whatever you speculate it's going to be called.

    A big problem is - and has always been - web developers. Any good dev knows to write browser-agnostic code that looks for capabilities not versions or rendering engines. Unfortunately, too many apps are written to work in specific ways for Chrome or Safari, leaving anyone else out in the cold. So, if Edge could switch to the Chromium rendering engine as needed while maintaining its user-facing identity as Edge, you'd get the best of both worlds.

    Think it sounds far-fetched that Edge could use Chromium under the hood? That's literally how Edge already works on Android. And if you didn't know that, it sort of proves my point.

  30. rkpatrick

    Good riddance. Edge has been a nightmare to use (and I say this as a longtime .Net developer who almost solely uses MS products, including WinPhone since day 1), particularly on the phone, where I have to kill the process daily when some site hangs the entire browser. How long has it taken them to get rid of autoplay videos? And how about their response to implementing scroll anchoring ("Talk to the web master of whatever site you're trying to read") I will say that at least tear-away tabs aren't crashing the browser any more, so that's a plus (only took about 2 years to fix)

  31. dontbe evil

    chromium is the new ie, the end of web standards … funny that people complained about ie because is MS, but now it's the same situation, but it's totally fine because is google

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to dontbe_evil:

      It's a bit of a different situation. IE was proprietary and restricted to a single platform. Chromium is open source and runs on every platform. As a Firefox user of 15 years, I'm not thrilled about the consolidation around Chromium, but it's not the end of the world if Microsoft dumps their proprietary engine and adopts an open source alternative.

      • dontbe evil

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        it's already the end of the world seeing so many websites and features chrome only

      • FalseAgent

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Firefox is open source and runs on every platform too, but yet it is nowhere as popular. It isn't even close. Why is that? Far too many people like you do a disservice to the spirit of open source by excusing what Google does with it. You people keep throwing about words like "proprietary" as if it has a bearing on the quality of the software or as if anyone actually gives a shit in the first place.

        Even though it's open-source, this is a story of control - specifically, Google's stranglehold on the open web. Gecko (and maybe EdgeHTML) would absolutely be more popular if web development didn't slant towards Chrome. Open source and cross-platform just made the Chromium strangehold more widespread than Microsoft could with IE at it's peak.

        The web is open, it shouldn't matter that EdgeHTML was restricted to a single platform. The problem is the other way around - it's that the open web is now overwhelmingly becoming only viable on one platform, and that platform is Chromium. Gecko and EdgeHTML could be perfectly competent and it still never be as good as Chromium. Do you get what the problem is here? Google has completely reverse-engineered the entire industry in their favor.

  32. irfaanwahid

    Microsoft is more a cool company! Period.

    I feel they have lost the passion, to fight the competition.

    With their half heart approach, if the product/feature does not succeed, get rid of it and join the crowd. It's the easy and best way out.

    As a fan of Microsoft, I did rather see them fire all guns and make their important products success. Like Edge, Phone, and Windows.

Leave a Reply