Report: Microsoft to ditch EdgeHTML in favor of Chromium

 Citing anonymous sources, Windows Central reports that Redmond is forging ahead with a plan to replace or retool the Edge browser in Windows 10 with a Chromium-powered replacement. The project is apparently codenamed "Anaheim," though there's no telling whether Microsoft's new browser will keep or ditch the Edge branding.

For the uninitiated, Chromium is the open-source web rendering engine that forms the basis of the ever-popular Google Chrome browser. It also underpins a handful of other browsers like Opera, Vivaldi, and even Steam's in-game web browser. Microsoft reportedly wants to fix Edge's unimpressive mindshare among users and developers by building a new browser on this popular, well-understood engine. Edge's current engine, EdgeHTML, is perfectly functional and a far sight better than Internet Explorer ever was. However, the browser's sparse feature set and lack of choice for extensions have largely relegated it to an also-ran. 

Whatever the rationale behind this decision is, Anaheim will likely be compatible with the huge number of Chrome extensions out there. Moreover, using an engine that's common among the majority of browsers lets developers (and in turn, users) avoid inter-browser website compatibility issues. It's not all roses, however. As those old enough to remember the dark days of Internet Explorer hegemony will certainly recall, having a single rendering engine powering most of the known browser world means that "web standards" are whatever that engine decides to do. The fact that Chromium is an open-source project might somewhat assuage that fear.

As corroboration for that idea, Windows Central remarks that some Microsoft engineers have contributed code to the Chromium project in a bid to ease Chrome compatibility on ARM-based devices. The site thinks that Microsoft will add Anaheim to the Windows 10 Insider builds sometime in the first half of 2019, so we'll see whether Microsoft plans to shine up its browser with Chromium then.

Comments closed
    • anotherengineer
    • 11 months ago

    pffff

    Waterfox just because……………..

      • BIF
      • 11 months ago

      I hear Earthfox would be more stable.

      But then there’s Airfox, which would be a very high flier. Plus, with Airfox, you get a free skybison.

    • End User
    • 11 months ago

    Apparently Tom Warren is unfamiliar with VMs:

    “Another big part of overhauling Edge involves developers. A lot of web developers use a Mac to develop and test sites, but Edge doesn’t exist there, and it’s currently difficult to test Microsoft’s web rendering engine on a Mac without dual booting Windows. Microsoft is now bringing Edge to the Mac. We understand it’s not a move designed to grab more market share specifically; it’s more about making it easier for developers to test Edge.”

    [url<]https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/6/18128648/microsoft-edge-chrome-chromium-browser-changes[/url<]

    • albundy
    • 11 months ago

    not another MS browser.

    I’d rather use Netscape Navigator. in fact, i will.

      • jihadjoe
      • 11 months ago

      Ah, ye good olde Nutscrape!

    • Chrispy_
    • 11 months ago

    I don’t care what browser engine Microsoft use, as long as they stop shoving it down our throats.

    [b<]On being welcomed to a clean Windows 10 install, the default browser is Edge. Does that mean I can uninstall Internet Explorer?[/b<] No. Alright then, let's download a different browser. [b<]Welcome to Microsoft Edge, the faster, safer browser. Faster* than both Chrome and Firefox. NEW! Get Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android.[/b<] No, thank you. I'd just like a new tab to download another browser. [b<]Okay Here's your start page. It has TOP STORIES, News, politics, entertainment, sport, adverts, promotions from Amazon, Facebook, Verizon and a whole bombardment of random stuff that is nothing to do with what should be on a start page for web-browsing. There is no user history and no cookies to base things on so you're just going to get an entire unrequested feed of lowest-common-denominator mainstream trash. (Please click here to acknowledge and consent to cookies that will store your browsing habits and track your usage). Yeah, we're just gonna ram Microsoft News down your throat instead because we know this is the last time you'll ever use Edge**[/b<] CTRL+T for a [i<]new[/i<] new tab to download my preferred browser. [b<]Hey I'm your new browser, if you want to make this the default browser here's how you can do that. Otherwise the next tab is your functional start page that you can customise with apps, links, favourites, notifications etc.[/b<] Cool, okay. Take me to the Windows 10 settings page that lets me change my default browser. [b<]Default apps > Web browser > Microsoft Edge - [i<]Recommended for Windows 10[/i<][/b<] Yes, I know it's recommended, but this is the brave, new post-expert era. I would like to ignore your expertise*** [b<]Before you switch, try Microsoft Edge - it is new, it's fast, and it's built for Windows 10. TRY IT OUT (or switch anyway)[/b<] Duh, switch anyway. There's no need to make the 'switch anyway' link quite as small and faint compared to the TRY IT OUT link in massive bold caps with a OMG CLICK ME button around it. I'm not falling for that trick because I can read, thanks. [b<]Windows has updated your PC to the latest version, you're all up-to-date![/b<] Oh, and you set Edge as the default browser again?!! I've stopped caring - the answer is STILL NO and no matter how good Edge gets your attitude with this and IE thrown in for good measure has just guaranteed that I will never trust Microsoft to play fair. Loyalty is earned, not forcefed into your customers, you suit-wearing, out-of-touch, corporate dinosaurs. * In this one particular edge-case Javascript test we [s<]wrote[/s<] found. ** Until you do a [s<]mandatory[/s<] voluntary feature update, tee-hee! *** Microsoft's 'Experts' could not be reached for comment at this time.

      • synthtel2
      • 11 months ago

      Not that Chrome bundling is much better. MS and Google both keep escalating, though, and everyone else is just collateral damage now. 🙁

      • DavidC1
      • 11 months ago

      Personally I find having the default search engine as Bing being most annoying. I want Google. And I switch to google.ca for the home page as soon as Windows is installed.

      I cannot avoid using Edge completely though. There are “edge”(heh heh) cases that works with Edge. My desktop has 5 browsers.

      I’m disappointed that they bought GitHub. Big companies lack innovation so they have to gobble up more innovative, smarter, more nimble small ones. Then when it doesn’t suit them they go poof! Maybe anti-trust laws should flat out prevent 1/10th the size or smaller companies from being bought/taken over.

        • Chrispy_
        • 11 months ago

        Heh, yes.

        Bing is much better than it used to be but the problems that will keep Bing from ever being useful lie in the past. For the past decade, getting keyword data, analytics, rankings, and making your site search-friendly has been a cakewalk with Google.

        Microsoft spent the majority of the past decade trying to win over webmasters disinterested in Microsoft’s whims by providing lame, unfamiliar suite of incomplete tools; By providing zero incentive to use that suite and by clogging up the entire process with mandatory Silverlight (“to be depracated soon, but please learn and use it for now”) and .NET installs. That would be fine if that’s all it was, but those things all had their own assinine dependencies and upgrade/migration problems. Add in the mandatory site registration and the entire process was as ridiculous and pointless as it sounds.

        So, for a decade, Google gave webmasters some simple tools that were quick to learn, practically standalone and automated, and that could be implemented in no time at all that indexed and ranked their site and generated useful data that represented and captured the vast majority of the market.

        Microsoft didn’t, and that is why Bing sucks now, and it will suck until Microsoft invent a time machine to go back to 1999 and do the work, earn the trust, and incentivise webmasters before Web 2.0 became the standard. We have more chance of Gabe making Half Life 3….

      • K-L-Waster
      • 11 months ago

      I was mildly impressed that when the Win10 1809 update imposed itself on me recently it didn’t reset all my default apps to MS’s garbageware. Thank the divines for small mercies…

      • Redocbew
      • 11 months ago

      [url<]https://xkcd.com/1118/[/url<]

    • DavidC1
    • 11 months ago

    I hope the battery life doesn’t drop after this switch.

    There is one advantage of using MS’s browser, and that is battery life. It’s quite a substantial difference, in the order of 30% or greater. This also includes IE. Hopefully this means all chromium-based browsers gain as well.

    • ermo
    • 11 months ago

    Taking a step back, it is not hard to notice that MS seems to be reverting course compared to the MS mindset of ten years ago.

    My take is that MS has realised that if it intends to stay relevant with developers, it flat out *needs* to drop its old NIH “walled garden” attitude and compete directly on better tools and services instead of relying on long-tail vendor lock-in options that are insanely onerous to work with for devs, ops and users alike and additionally, become increasingly less relevant with the advent of mobile devices not running Windows and relying primarily on web services/cloud offerings.

    Part of that epiphany (heh) is no doubt that the reality of Open Source is that you can protect both the overall integrity of a product and its trademark relative to your own commmercial interests provided you have deep enough pockets, since Open Source leadership is basically about who pours the most engineering resource into said product. If in doubt, look at how RedHat has managed its contributions to Open Source over the past ten years and check that list against which products have become de facto standards in the Linux world. And Microsoft has *deep* pockets and an excellent pool of developers.

    At the same time, when adopting Open Source, you open yourself up to contributions and features you didn’t think of yourself AND you get to adopt the most popular solution among the competing solutions offered. There’s simply no better and more direct feedback to a developer than a Pull Request that improves on the product in a tangible way.

    Will Windows itself survive as a product? Probably. Do I care? Not really. I only boot my Windows install at home when I want to play games anyway. And that happens noticeably less often now than it did before. It’s not as if anyone actually *likes* Windows, is it? It’s kind of like that thing that you sort of get used to after a while, and you typically end up developing all sorts of silly workarounds to avoid the worst of its misfeatures and breakage.

      • cygnus1
      • 11 months ago

      I like Windows. It’s my favorite Linux distro now 😉

      • sweatshopking
      • 11 months ago

      I like windows as much as anyone can like an os.
      It does the job, and has the software I want. I’d rather use it than the competition because it does more of what I want. That’s essentially what an os is for. It’s not “fun” to use any os.

        • ermo
        • 11 months ago

        If I were the facetious kind, I’d quip that that’s because you’re stuck with Windows.

        I contribute to a couple of Linux distributions as a hobby, because I enjoy improving stuff. I can’t really do that with Windows, so that avenue is completely closed to me.

        EDIT: Or, well, I suppose I could contribute to chocolately, which is like homebrew for macOS AIUI. But it’s limited in scope and not nearly much as fun as packaging the icecream distributed compilation agent and its icecream-sundae monitor and creating your own little (very obsolete and yet strangely compelling) Linux compile cluster and recompiling your system to wring every last drop out of your old Q9400@3.2GHz because you’ve enabled all the native optimisations for that CPU and you use the x32 ABI (64-bit with 32-bit pointers for significant memory savings in e.g. Firefox).

        But I digress.

          • meerkt
          • 11 months ago

          [url<]https://reactos.org/[/url<]

            • sweatshopking
            • 11 months ago

            Reactos looks like windows 95 and they advertise that it can run Mario bros and SimCity 3000. It’s not ready.

            • meerkt
            • 11 months ago

            Not that. I suggested it for:
            [quote<]I contribute to a couple of Linux distributions ... I can't really do that with Windows[/quote<]

            • ermo
            • 11 months ago

            Yeeeaaah … No.

          • sweatshopking
          • 11 months ago

          I spent years using Linux. I’m not stuck with Windows, I chose it because it does the best job of running all the software I wanna use.

            • ermo
            • 11 months ago

            Contrary to what I may have led you to believe, I do understand wanting to use the best tool for the job.

            And now I’m curious: What *do* you want to use? Inquiring minds wish to know.

            (If that’s not something you’re willing to divulge, I completely understand).

            • sweatshopking
            • 11 months ago

            I don’t want to use anything. If my computer could read my mind and open the games and applications I need that would be best.

      • morete
      • 11 months ago

      Monolithic architecture is going bye-bye. Unix, Linux, Microsoft NT and even Android….it’s all going nite-nite and will be replaced with microkernel architecture.

    • End User
    • 11 months ago

    I guess this is one way to get Chrome running natively under Windows 10 on ARM.

    • tipoo
    • 11 months ago

    It might get the extensions?

    Now that’ll be something to try for me. Edge is a nice enough browser but several of the extensions just felt like cheap simulacrum of Chrome/Firefox ones.

    • WaltC
    • 11 months ago

    I’ve been with FF x64 DE (Quantum?) for years now, and I’m very pleased with it. I don’t much care for Google software, however–it always seems second-rate somehow. But Microsoft goofed badly with Edge–doing things like mandating the favorites side bar *must* be on the *right* side of the screen–exactly the opposite of what I’m used to and prefer. Even IE let you decide what side of the screen you wanted to use. I’ve looked at Edge a few times–it seems like Microsoft was doing things with it just to be different–ie, “fixing” stuff and conventions that “ain’t broke”…;) I’ll pass–but I think this is probably just idle speculation from someone, however–considering what Microsoft has already put into Edge.

      • ermo
      • 11 months ago

      I’ve always used Edge to log into the MS Office products, since I figure it’s the browser that’s most likely to *just work* with MS’ own offerings.

      And it’s even got uBlock Origin, so there’s that.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 11 months ago

    Maybe MSFT will just buy Vivaldi…but I hope not; I like the browser too much to condemn it to that fate.

      • rnalsation
      • 11 months ago

      I’d go for them buying Opera away from the Chinese. At leas one of the companies involved in their purchase is pretty crappy [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qihoo_360[/url<] .

    • yokem55
    • 11 months ago

    Sheesh what’s next for Microsoft? Swapping out the NT kernel for Linux?

      • cygnus1
      • 11 months ago

      Well, they did build an ELF execution layer (AKA Windows Subsystem for Linux), so they’re getting close to that 😉

        • Neutronbeam
        • 11 months ago

        Yeah, but the ELF execution layer is only being implemented during the month of December. ;->

          • cygnus1
          • 11 months ago

          ha!

      • tipoo
      • 11 months ago

      Well NTFS is getting a bit old…

        • chuckula
        • 11 months ago

        It’s not actually a NEW technology.

        They should rename it OGTFS.

        • rutra80
        • 11 months ago

        Yes it is mature. No incidents like recent ext4 corruptions.

      • Mr Bill
      • 11 months ago

      Never! MS is totally against Multi Reentrant Kernels. MicroS OFTen Rebooted Patch Updates are here to stay.

      • rutra80
      • 11 months ago

      Unfortunately on many fronts that is how it looks like… Instead of building on their own mature foundations, they began to behave like midlife crisis man – looking with envy on younger boys getting all the young chicks, drawing from their childish style, and overall acting pathetic. Microsoft in few years? Windows being an open source linux fork on github, or just an emulation layer for linux, with explorer being an X window manager, all white with textless black pictograms surrounded by huge margins for the focus-challenged, with Office all migrated to JavaScript and running in chromium based Edge, with marketing solely based on instagram accounts led by some geek girl with huge cleavage and dude with funky hair 🙁

    • DoomGuy64
    • 11 months ago

    Web standards. If you support them, it doesn’t matter. Also, at this point in time I think edge is better, while chrome is bloated and slow. Other than the odd crash that forgets all your tabs. Anyways, I’m back on Firefox. Maybe Firefox was not as good after they first went multi process, but now it is easily the best browser again, extensions have been updated, and their multi process is far more sane than chrome. If edge goes away, I would be disappointed simply for the fact that we would be losing a new and unique browser that doesn’t really have any downside for existing. If Microsoft drops it, there will be even less reason to use it. This idea just reeks of their typical stupidity that will hurt more than it helps.

    • Wirko
    • 11 months ago

    Will that make Windows Server compatible with the new browser?

      • cygnus1
      • 11 months ago

      Windows Server has not included the Edge browser at all up to this point, it’s only ever had IE. Maybe they’ll include this new browser in an update to Windows Server 2019, as an installable package, or in a service pack, or R2 release or something. I would think it won’t be any time soon though.

    • chuckula
    • 11 months ago

    As many Linux users like me can tell you, Chromium is similar to but definitely not identical to Google’s official Chrome. Cases in point: Chromium without any extra extensions won’t let you stream Netflix/Amazon Prime due to DRM support being omitted. Additionally, the 3D Google Earth web interface won’t work in vanilla Chromium (irony at 1000% here since that sounds like MS circa 1999).

    So there’s definitely additional technology for Microsoft to reimplement or source externally beyond the core engine here.

    Oh… and before I forget: THANKS AMD!!!(??)

      • cygnus1
      • 11 months ago

      The wording in the source article poorly differentiates what MS is actually doing. It’s not clear if they’re ditching the EdgeHTML engine in favor of Blink, or if they’re building a whole new browser (UI and all) based on Chromium. Either could be true, it’s just not clear.

      My bet is on just changing their engine to Blink. They don’t need the UI, they just need the engine to get the rendering compatibility and plugin compatibility to work.

        • DancinJack
        • 11 months ago

        FWIW, I still think they’ll make a UI that is similar to newer Chrome. That way people get confused and use Microsoft Chredge and don’t notice it’s not Chrome.

          • cygnus1
          • 11 months ago

          +3 for MS Chredge

          😀

            • Voldenuit
            • 11 months ago

            Edgium is, er… edgium-er.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 months ago

    Great, now my “what will I use to download Chrome?” joke [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1396214#p1396213<]doesn't make any sense[/url<]. </3

    • K-L-Waster
    • 11 months ago

    So if it’s going to use the same engine as Chrome, why exactly would someone who is already using Chrome switch? I’m by no means a fan of Edge, but it’s not clear what they win by doing this.

      • DancinJack
      • 11 months ago

      Improve compatibility, rendering, and open up to vast number of add-ons/themes/plugins. It’s pretty obviously why they’re doing it IMO, but who knows how they’ll market it. Maybe some angle about data collection.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 months ago

      There’s more to a web browser than just the rendering engine. Now you can let Microsoft sell your personal browsing history data.

        • kvndoom
        • 11 months ago

        Will I feel any better if MS is selling it or if Google is selling it?

        If there were a paid-for browser and search engine that stood on the grounds of true privacy (pay with your wallet instead of your data), would it even have enough support to survive?

          • DancinJack
          • 11 months ago

          Have you heard of Firefox and DuckDuckGo? If Privacy is your concern, but still want to use decent services, that’s a big step in the “right” direction.

            • kvndoom
            • 11 months ago

            I use Waterfox because FF keeps seeming to go backwards instead of forwards.

            But every search engine (and I’ve tried DDG multiple times) just doesn’t get me where Google gets me. I always go back.

            • DancinJack
            • 11 months ago

            Yeah dude, you’re not wrong on either account. It just seemed like maybe those weren’t your usage patterns.

            But no, you won’t feel better depending on who sells your datas 🙂

            • becubed
            • 11 months ago

            Have you tried using !g after your search term in DDG? It then routes it through to Google and you end up at their results page.

            EDIT: Looking at the page on BANGS at DDG it doesn’t make it clear if the submission is trackable back to you. When I first switched a few years ago I seem to remember that the search was submitted from their servers so you weren’t related to the results and you avoided the Filter Bubble effect.

            • trieste1s
            • 11 months ago

            Same situation as you.

            I use an addon called Remove Redirect to scrub Google Search’s redirect hyperlinks on desktop Firefox. You do pay a performance penalty with it running on redirect heavy or link heavy webpages. There’s also another addon that makes pseudo-regular, random keyword searches on Google that supposedly messes up their profiling of what you like to search for.

          • Anton Kochubey
          • 11 months ago

          That’s basically Safari on iOS / macOS

            • DancinJack
            • 11 months ago

            Yes and no. Apple is definitely much better about data privacy than Google, but Safari still defaults to Google search (as does the rest of macOS/iOS).

            • derFunkenstein
            • 11 months ago

            Except that Safari’s default search engine is still Google thanks to apparently a large payment of dollars. It can be changed, but who really does that/

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 months ago

          That’s the joke. Thanks for not getting it. 😉

            • kvndoom
            • 11 months ago

            Second Monday this week! 😀

            • derFunkenstein
            • 11 months ago

            Between now and when I’m on vacation for the remainder of the year, EVERY day is Monday! 🙁

          • Beahmont
          • 11 months ago

          You should feel at least marginally better because in a turn of events no one I have ever met saw coming, Microsoft has better privacy terms than Google by a mile.

          They still sell your data, but it’s less mined and more randomized, and certain things are just not collected at all compared to Google.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 11 months ago

        I think you forgot the </sarc> tags there 😉

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 months ago

          I did not. I thought TR commenters were smarter than they apparently are. 😉

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 11 months ago

        Even better, they can link you directly to targeted offerings in the Windows store.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 months ago

          Now that’s a guy who gets it! LOL

          • bandannaman
          • 11 months ago

          Woah… imagine Clippy powered by your web history!

          *mind blown*

        • Mr Bill
        • 11 months ago

        +3 This. I browse with Firefox when I don’t want tracking ads and Chrome when I just want the video to play.

    • pogsnet1
    • 11 months ago

    Or they can add both

    • drfish
    • 11 months ago

    Nice screenshot, clipped just low enough to show off your list-topping comment.

      • morphine
      • 11 months ago

      Our great overlord actually took that screenshot. Must have been some sort of Freudian slip, he’d never highlight me like that.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 11 months ago

      There’s no promotion like self-promotion!

    • DancinJack
    • 11 months ago

    lol @ Edge

    More seriously, it’s a pretty big problem that everyone more or less develops for Chrome these days. It’s not a really good thing, but it’s the way things are for now.

    • cygnus1
    • 11 months ago

    Honestly, the rendering engine underneath the hood is the least interesting part of a browser for the average user. If this lets MS focus more on the UI, the part users care about, that’s probably the best thing for them and users.

    • arunphilip
    • 11 months ago

    As a user of Edge on the desktop and Android (ducks to avoid sticks and stones), I have to say that Edge Android (atop Chromium) came out of the box about a year ago feeling very refined and polished in comparison to the older Edge in Windows (‘older’ as in supposedly mature, not decrepit). Of course, on the desktop it felt more like the browser chrome that was the let down, and not the rendering engine itself.

    In any case, I’d see this change as a good thing for end users, and I hope lessons learnt from the first browser wars are remembered now.

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