It's a "decision for the long term", and Microsoft plans to support common new platform capabilities while also offering "differentiated user experience features and connected services" in its Edge browser. IE now is a "deprecated" product (not being developed), but it still has more than twice the market share of the Edge browser, per USA government site-visit stats.
Microsoft for its part said in a post on GitHub that it will "remain deeply and vigorously engaged" in discussions about standards at bodies such as W3C, ECMA and the WHATWG.
MICROSOFT'S RIVALS have given a cautiously optimistic welcome to the decision by the company to rebuild its Edge browser using the Chromium code base. That's what happened when Microsoft had a monopoly on browsers in the early 2000s before Firefox was released.
It's a smart move from Microsoft, in a time where Edge just doesn't have the market share to be worth investing so much in its own engineering. Edge currently suffers from compatibility issues with some websites, many of which are now optimized to run properly on Chrome.
Not an immediate move, the under-the-hood changes to the Microsoft Edge browser will take place "over the next year or so", with the transition described as happening "gradually over time".
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Compared to the endlessly mocked Internet Explorer, Edge is a totally serviceable, relatively sleek piece of software, but the fact is that web developers simply weren't going to go out of their way to ensure that their websites would run flawlessly on the platform when almost 70% of the planet uses Chrome.
Another key highlight of the announcement is the suggestion that Microsoft Edge is coming to the Mac. While the engine will change, Microsoft has stated that they will continue utilizing the Microsoft Edge name and will now bring the browser to all supported Windows platforms. It will also be bringing the browsers to more platforms, including Windows 7, 8 and macOS.
With such a small share of the market, and Edge only available on Windows 10, developers would often never even see if a website worked on Edge or not. Competition is nearly always a good thing. The team noted that its past practice of shipping Edge improvements with full Windows 10 releases had just "slowed our ability to update, causing platform fragmentation and exposing compatibility gaps", which is something it wants to avoid. Microsoft tried, and largely failed, to gain traction for a model where developers supported Windows only web apps, available in the Windows Store, as a way to offer modern web based applications to Windows.
While Microsoft hasn't explained technical details yet, it would appear it will swap out EdgeHTML for Chromium's Blink engine, and possibly Chakra for V8. And it's hiring to that end, too, according to a Twitter post.