Microsoft today confirmed the rumors that have been swirling all week. As part of a sweeping change to one of the flagship components of Windows 10, it will rebuild its Microsoft Edge browser from the ground up, ripping out its proprietary EdgeHTML rendering engine and replacing it with the open-source Chromium code base. Yes, that Chromium. The same one that’s at the heart of archrival Google’s Chrome browser. My colleague Mary Jo Foley has the details here: “Microsoft’s Edge to morph into a Chromium-based, cross-platform browser.” It’s an extraordinary capitulation from Microsoft, which has spent nearly four years and a staggering amount of engineering effort on a quixotic campaign to convince Windows 10 users to ditch their current browser in favor of Microsoft Edge. Also: Windows-as-a-service fail: Microsoft keeps customers in the dark That effort was doomed to fail, because of a series of strategic mistakes. So what makes Microsoft think that they can convince the world that this all-new Edge is a worthy alternative to Chrome? Let’s start with what went wrong with EdgeHTML. In theory, the idea of building a standards-based rendering engine to compete with Chromium’s Blink engine makes perfect sense. After all, who wants a monoculture? But when that noble idea collided with the real world, guess what happened? Edge was barely able to compete on its native platform, Windows 10. One of the best sources for real-world data on browser usage is the U.S. Government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP). I’ve been tracking those numbers for… [Read full story]
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