It’s no secret that Microsoft is transitioning away from its competitor (Microsoft Edge) in the web browser market game. In fact, they’re basically just converting Microsoft Edge into Google Chrome. The real secret is why Microsoft is doing this.
What is Edge?
Edge was released in 2015, written from scratch by Microsoft with the intent of being the successor to the infamous Internet explorer. According to its advertisements, it was supposed to be the latest and greatest of all web browsers, especially Google Chrome.
Microsoft was so confident in Edge(yikes!), that when you would make the trip into Edge just to download Chrome, it would display statistics enclosed in a speedometer that showed how Edge blew Chrome out of the water in terms of page-loading times.
Or, in laymen terms, basically edge is a fully-loaded Ferrari, while Chrome is your average medieval donkey.
Microsoft Switches to Chrome!?!
Now, if we fast-forward to 2019, the version of Edge we all know and loathe is being discontinued or changed drastically, while the next version is slowly being ported and developed to be released. Although we should expect the new Edge to at least resemble the old Edge, there will be one differentiating factor:
The new Edge will be using the Chromium Engine!
So, what does this mean for you?
Well, if you’re already using Google Chrome, then this really doesn’t apply to you. But, if you do just so happen to be running Microsoft Edge at the moment… Big changes are coming.
Ironically, the new version of Edge will remove a whole bunch of the features that made the original Edge unique in the first place. Although, the entire set of features to be removed is not final at the moment, I would still brace for just about all of the unique features to be removed.
Why did Microsoft do this?
Edge has always struggled to capture much marketshare. This is especially disconcerting because it was meant to replace the Internet Explorer market share and then some. Certainly, this wasn’t the case and Microsoft realized this.
The struggles of Edge
While Edge was struggling to stay afloat, Chrome’s marketshare continued to slowly rise, which I presume made Microsoft even more nervous that they were getting too far behind Chrome to catch up.
Also, like most of Microsoft other projects they’re messy. They contain a lot of bugs, and conditions that cause the browser to crash or become unstable.
To make matters even worse Microsoft Edge was advertised that it was much faster at loading pages than Chrome, but in fact it was actually much slower.
In correspondence, Edge also had weaker HTML5 parsing as opposed to Chrome.
What Microsoft Should’ve done
If Microsoft were to completely open-source Edge’s main engine, I believe all of its problems could be sorted out in a couple of months. But instead, they’ve chosen to just completely abandoned the project and switch to the Chromium engine. I mean, they could just at least make it open source and then archive it. This way it wouldn’t of all been for nothing.
Doesn’t it just seem a bit odd that Microsoft wants to completely destroy the engine it took years to build. But hey, Chrome controls the browser-market for a reason.
Why the Chromium Engine?
As mentioned previously, the new version of Microsoft Edge will implement the Chromium engine, meaning that Edge will soon begin to feel very similar to Chrome itself.
But, why did Microsoft choose the Chromium engine?
Well, this could be from a variety of reasons, the most likely of being:
If you cant beat them, then join them
If I were to speculate the exact reasons though, I’d come up with Chromium is:
- Permits making a proprietary version
- Lot’s of experienced professional developers contributing
- Used by the biggest browser
- People love it
- Modular design inhibits the use of third-party extensions
What is to come?
With the beta versions of the new Microsoft Edge currently in development, and the first official release coming soon, I’m expecting to see a few different outcomes from this expedition.
The first, I expect the new version to be a total flop. A poor implementation of the Chromium engine, that is slow and buggy that scares everyone and their toothbrush off.
The second, I expect that people will say things like “if it looks like and smells like Chrome, why not just use Chrome?”
The last, and the least likely, I expect the entire project to be called off and everyone is sent home.
Why the new Edge can’t beat Chrome
The entire point of Microsoft revamping Edge to put it in a better competition spot with Chrome is pointless in my opinion. I mean, there is no way that Edge can even compete with Chrome.
Chrome has the backing of Google, which controls the services that just about all Chrome users use (Google Drive, YouTube, Search…) Further, if Edge were to start taking over some of Chrome’s marketshare, Google could easily and legally have their most used services render very slowly on Edge’s implementation.
In fact, I see this as a very possible outcome if Edge dose start gaining users, as Google has actually done this in the past — See here.
Thanks for reading!
That’s all for this story! I hope you learned something new, or just simply enjoyed the reading!
If you disagree with any of my statements, please feel free to hone me in the comments.
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