Just a couple of days ago, news crept out about Microsoft's project Anaheim -- a Chromium-based web browser said to be a replacement for Microsoft Edge. This understandably generated a great deal of interest... So much, in fact, that Microsoft has been compelled to speak out and confirm what its plans are.
Microsoft says that it is not building a replacement for Edge, but confirms that it will be embracing Chromium in the development of the browser. It is part of the company's increasing involvement in the open source community, and is driven by a desire to improve web compatibility and reduce fragmentation.
In a blog post published today, Microsoft says that it wants to become a "significant contributor to the Chromium project" helping to improve things not only for web users, but also web developers. Microsoft is keen to stress that there is nothing to worry about for Edge users -- Edge is not changing any time soon, and nor it is going anywhere.
But under the hood, things are changing:
Microsoft shares a three-point plan for the future of Edge and the use of Chromium:
- We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers. This will deliver improved compatibility for everyone and create a simpler test-matrix for web developers. Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS.
- Improving the web-platform experience for both end users and developers requires that the web platform and the browser be consistently available to as many devices as possible. To accomplish this, we will evolve the browser code more broadly, so that our distribution model offers an updated Microsoft Edge experience + platform across all supported versions of Windows, while still maintaining the benefits of the browser's close integration with Windows.
- We will contribute web platform enhancements to make Chromium-based browsers better on Windows devices. Our philosophy of greater participation in Chromium open source will embrace contribution of beneficial new tech, consistent with some of the work we described above. We recognize that making the web better on Windows is good for our customers, partners and our business -- and we intend to actively contribute to that end.
What is not clear is what sort of timescale Microsoft is working to, and when Edge users can expect to see any changes.