MICROSOFT IS reported to be planning to give up on its Edge browser in favour of a replacement based on Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome.
Windows Central reports that the bundled browser introduced with Windows 10 has become little more than that joke about being ‘the one you use to download Chrome with' (even internally) and Microsoft has learned to take the hint.
As we've previously told you, Microsoft is already working on Chromium in order to help Google port it over to ARM-based Windows machines, such is the power that the world's top browser holds.
Now it seems that a new ‘Project Anaheim' is being developed for rollout at some point next year as a replacement for Edge, which whilst not a bad browser, was never a brilliant browser, and was born out of Microsoft trying to reinvent the wheel, so it never caught up with its rivals in terms of functionality.
It's good news for web developers because it's one less rendering engine to deal with - Firefox and Safari are the last of the big browsers not to run on the Chromium code.
But it could be seen as bad news for the punter - it risks all browsers starting to become much-of-a-muchness so vendors will have to try twice as hard to make theirs stand out.
That is, de facto, bad news for the likes of Opera, Vivaldi, Maxathon and other small players who will have one less reason for people to think outside the big names.
A Chromium-based browser will also give Microsoft access to the hundreds of thousands of existing extensions for Chrome (if they choose to adopt them - Opera, for example, doesn't) which will make it more appealing again.
Microsoft was looking at ways to make Chrome extensions work with Edge, or at least make it easier for developers to port them, but we didn't quite expect it would go to such extreme lengths.
But the browser with most to lose is Chrome itself. Microsoft is getting increasingly good at admitting when it is wrong, and submitting to the winner (look at Windows Mobile, or on second thoughts, don't) and if Edge becomes fully compatible with Chrome, there'll be less reason to download the latter.
Of course, conversely, we could also see tighter integration of Microsoft products into Chrome, so perhaps it's swings and roundabouts.
The rumour is yet to be confirmed by Microsoft, and as such it's not known if it would be a replacement for Edge with a new name, or a relaunch on the new engine.
Either way, it's funny how Redmond made a big fuss about being the fastest, safest browser and then.... well, this. μ
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