We reported on the rumor from Windows Central on the Gestalt IT Rundown yesterday, but Microsoft has now confirmed they are moving the Edge browser to Chromium. This doesn’t mean that the Edge browser is going away anytime soon. Microsoft is still keeping that branding alive, for whatever that is worth.
The changes will come on the back-end, as Microsoft gives up on its EdgeHTML rendering engine and switches over to Blink and other Chromium components. Moving over to Chromium also has a nice side effect, Microsoft plans to bring the browser to older versions of Windows, and also possibly to macOS.
It’s also interesting to consider this news in the context of the rumored Windows 10 Lite OS. The idea here is that Microsoft wants to create a purely CPU agnostic, super lightweight, and instant-on OS that just runs PWAs and UWP apps. Switching over to Chromium eliminates two possible headaches. One, it should improve compatibility with PWAs given that most have already standardized on Chrome. Two, it eliminates one of the major reasons that people don’t want to use other parred down version of Windows. The joke about Windows 10 S is that the first thing you do is install full Windows and download Chrome. There’s less of a need to do that now.
The immediate benefit will be Microsoft contributing to the Chromium project. They’ve already done some work to get it working well on ARM, and I imagine they will be a major contributor going forward.