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Microsoft is building its own Chrome browser to replace Edge

Microsoft is building its own Chrome browser to replace Edge


Redmond makes a big change to compete on the web

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft is building its own Chromium browser to replace the default on Windows 10. The software giant first introduced its Edge browser three years ago, with a redesign to replace Internet Explorer and modernize the default browsing experience to compete with Chrome and others. While the modern look and feel has paid off for Edge, the underlying browser engine (EdgeHTML) has struggled to keep up with Chromium. Microsoft is finally giving up and moving its default Windows 10 browser to Chromium.

The Verge understands Microsoft will announce its plans for a Chromium browser as soon as this week, in an effort to improve web compatibility for Windows. Windows Central first reported on these plans, which are codenamed Anaheim internally. We understand there has been a growing frustration inside Microsoft at Edge’s web compatibility issues, and businesses and consumers have been pushing the company to improve things.

Microsoft Edge on Windows 10
Microsoft Edge on Windows 10

Microsoft has only managed to go so far with EdgeHTML, though. Chrome is now the most popular browser across all devices, thanks to Android’s popularity and the rise of Chrome on PCs and Macs. Chrome has turned into the new IE6, and web developers have been favoring its rendering engine to optimize their sites. Google has also been creating Chrome-only web services, simply because its often the first to adopt emerging web technologies as its engineers contribute to many web standards.

Microsoft’s rendering engine has fallen behind as a result, and the company is finally ready to admit this. There were signs Microsoft was about to adopt Chromium onto Windows, as the company’s engineers have been working with Google to support a version of Chrome on an ARM-powered Windows operating system.

Adopting Chromium as the default rendering engine for Windows 10 will end Microsoft’s hostility towards Chrome. Microsoft has regularly pushed notifications to Windows 10 users to attempt to convince them not to use Chrome, and Microsoft pulled Google’s Chrome installer from the Windows Store, because it violated store policies. Those policies restrict rival store browsers to using Microsoft’s own Edge rendering engine.