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Windows 10: Microsoft abandons Edge, new browser based on Chromium (3rd update)

Windows 10: Microsoft abandons Edge, new browser based on Chromium (3rd update)

According to rumors, Microsoft abandons the development of Edge and develops a new browser for Windows 10 based on Chromium. The reason could be the slow spread of Edge. Windows users would thus remain the only alternative to Chromium-based browsers in future only Firefox.

With Edge Microsoft ventured for Windows 10, a new start in terms of browser development and threw a lot of ballast of the old browser Internet Explorer overboard. And while Microsoft Edge did a lot better, other browsers like Chrome and Firefox stayed ahead – and were struggling with fewer compatibility issues, especially on various websites.

Codenamed “Anaheim”

The result was a continued decline in market share: ComputerBase brings Edge to only four to five percent market share, although Edge is the standard Windows 10 browser used in nearly half of all pageviews. At least technically savvy users are therefore actively choosing Microsoft Edge in droves.

Presumably to avoid compatibility issues with websites, Microsoft's new browser code-named “Anaheim” should be based on Chromium – the open-source part of Google Chrome. In 2013, Opera stopped the development of its own browser engine “Presto” – since Opera is based on Blink / Chromium. The same applies to the Vivaldi browser built by former Opera developers. Fixing compatibility issues was also a major motivating factor for Opera.

Whether or not Microsoft's new browser will continue to be called Edge is still unclear. The variants of Microsoft's browser for Android and iOS also do not use their own “EdgeHTML” rendering engine and are still called Edge (Android, iOS).

Fewer and fewer rendering engines

Should Microsoft really give up its own rendering engine “EdgeHTML”, then there would be only three significant rendering engines in the future: Blink (Chromium, Chrome, Edge, Samsung Internet, Opera, Vivaldi, …), Gecko (Firefox, SeaMonkey, …) and WebKit (Safari, Epiphany, …). And since Blink is a fork of WebKit, these two implementations can not really be considered completely independent. Too few independent implementations of web standards can be a problem for the web because individual rendering engines have more power to decide the fate of the web.

The emergence of a new rendering engine is due to the now immense list of web standards to be implemented is not expected. Although Mozilla is gradually integrating more parts of the new Servo rendering engine into Firefox, it does not create a new rendering engine, but replaces an existing rendering engine. All three of the remaining rendering engines Blink, Gecko and WebKit are free software, so a fork would be possible. In addition, Blink or Chromium are already not only developed by Google employees, but also other companies contribute to – recently also Microsoft.

Desktop apps as a true reason for Microsoft's move?

In addition to compatibility issues, electron-based cross-platform desktop apps could be another reason why Microsoft wants to say goodbye to Edge. Electron enables the development of desktop apps using the web technologies HTML, CSS and JavaScript and uses Chromium and Node.js. Examples of such apps are the code editors Atom and Visual Studio Code as well as the communication apps Discord, Signal, Skype, and Slack. One problem with these electron-based apps is the high memory requirements, as each Electron app has its own copy of Chromium and Node.js both on the storage medium and in RAM, without any resource sharing taking place.

Microsoft could therefore consider integrating Electron – and ultimately Chromium – in Windows, so that in the future no longer every Electron app own copies of Chromium and Node.js on the hard drive / SSD and RAM must hold, which has advantages in terms of performance and especially battery life could bring. Then it would make sense only if your own browser builds on Chromium.

Update 06.12.2018 20:44 clock

Update 07.12.2018 10:09 clock

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