It has recently been announced that Microsoft plans to rebuild its default browser, Edge, from the ground up. This is due to Microsoft’s decision to join its biggest competitor, Chrome, in the Chromium rendering engine. This means that users will be able to install Google Chrome extensions onto the Microsoft Edge browser.
The reason behind Microsoft making this change to their default browser is a simple one. They have realised they are losing users to Chrome because, although Edge does have some extensions, there are only a small amount compared to Chrome, so users are making the switch from Edge to Chrome to have more choice of extensions on their browser. The extensions themselves are only small extensions, such as adblocking, VPN, or password management, but they make working in a browser seamless and straightforward, especially providing peace of mind surrounding personal security online. Microsoft already knew the importance of this, but instead of competing with Chrome, they have decided to harness Chrome’s success in this department. Through joining forces with Google Chrome, they are necessarily addressing one of their weakest points.
Microsoft noticed the problem when developers were concentrating more on creating extensions for Chrome instead of Edge, due to Chrome’s popularity. This was resulting in people switching their browsers from Edge to Chrome, so the aim of Edge working with Chrome is to provide the ‘best of both worlds’ for their users, with the hopes that users will stick with Edge as their default browser when they buy a new PC.
This information was released by the project manager of Edge, Kyle Alden, through a Reddit post. In the post he said, “it’s our intention to support existing Chrome extensions”. Alden made sure to reassure Edge users and developers of Universal Windows Platforms (UWP) apps, that “Existing UWP apps will continue to use EdgeHTML/Chakra without interruption… We do expect to offer a new WebView that apps can choose to use based on the new rendering engine.”
The reaction to this news has been mostly positive, with many saying that this is a good move for Microsoft, accounting for feature parity between Edge and Chrome. But there are concerns that the number of alternative browsers will be reduced, with Edge just becoming a clone of Chrome.