It’s official. Microsoft is killing Edge and rebuilding it
using Google’s Chromium project. This has huge implications for the web, the
open source community, the Microsoft Store, the Universal Windows Platform, Chrome, ChromeOS,
basically everything, so in the 41st episode of the Story Behind series, let me walk through
all of these implications one by one. Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this video. The first 500 students to use the link in
the description below will 2 months of premium access for free. Currently, the three big platforms, so Windows,
Android and iOS all come with their own browsers that are built mostly in-house, meaning that
the platform maker control both their user interface and how these browsers actually
render webpages, which is controlled by something called a rendering engine. And that’s what Microsoft’s announcement will
change. Because the first thing Microsoft has announced
is that it is going to slowly phase out its own rendering engines, specifically EdgeHTML
and Chakra, and replace it with tech from Google’s Chromium project, such as the Blink
rendering engine and the V8 JavaScript Engine. Microsoft will keep control over the user
interface, and extra features like Windows Hello login and so on, but this new version
of Edge will even support Chrome extensions apparently. Chromium of course powers Google Chrome, but
since it is open source, it’s also adopted by many other products like Opera, Vivaldi,
Brave and even app platforms like Electron, which is what a lot of new desktop
apps like Spotify, the newer versions of Skype or Visual Studio Code are built on. Chromium is everywhere, and it’s not news
that one browser adopts another browser’s engine. For example, Microsoft Edge on Android already
uses Chromium stuff and all browsers on iOS are forced to use the Apple tech from Safari,
but this is the first time in a while where we we see a major commercially developed OS with
a default browser that will not rely on its own in-house engine. And there is a lot more, but this by itself
already has 2 huge implications. Edge itself will likely become a better
browser for most people because Chromium has slightly superior compatibility with web standards,
and because developers used to not really optimize their sites for the old Edge
with its tiny market share, but it also means that browsers that do not use the Chromium engine will have an even harder time going forward. The two big competitors are currently Firefox,
which is my browser of choice, which uses its own, also open source engine called Gecko,
and Apple’s Safari, which uses WebKit. These two are now part of an even smaller minority
that fewer and fewer developers will test for. OK, part 2 of the announcement is that Microsoft
will start supporting and contributing to the Chromium open source project, so they
are rumored to port over some of the better parts of Edge to Chromium like smoother scrolling,
pinch to zoom or reduced power consumption for example. So that should overall lead to a better experience
on all Chromium based browsers, which is great, but I just can’t help but wonder how exactly this
collaboration will work on the long run. Like, clearly Google’s and Microsoft’s objectives aren’t
exactly perfectly aligned, so there are bound to be fundamental disagreements between the two. Sure, Microsoft could always just decide to fork Chromium and make its own engine out of it if the disagreements are too big, after all, Chromium is just a fork of Apple’s WebKit, so that would kind of make things go full circle, but, uhh, I don’t imagine
this being as smooth a process as Microsoft says it will be. OK, part 3 is that is that this new browser
will be de-coupled from Windows 10. So the current Edge is a part of Windows 10,
meaning that it can’t be downloaded and installed, it can’t be uninstalled, it only gets updated
when Windows gets updated, which is twice a year, and it’s currently not available on
older Windows versions. And this is changing. Just like Chrome, the new Edge will be downloadable
to multiple platforms, including Window 7 and 8.1 and even MacOS and will receive more
frequent updates. Now, I doubt that most MacOS users, or people
who couldn’t bother to Upgrade to Windows 10 love Microsoft so much they can’t wait
to download a new browser from them, but there are 2 distinct groups of people that this announcement might be interesting for. Web Developers, who often use Mac will now
be able to test their web apps natively on Mac using Edge, and enterprise customers, many of which are stuck on Windows 7 or 8.1 who are not allowed to download just a random browser from the internet, will finally get something newer than the ancient Internet Explorer. So overall, this is a net positive, I guess. Part 4 is that this new Edge is not a UWP
or Universal Windows Platform app and there are very strong rumors that it will not be
distributed through the Store. UWP, if you didn’t know is Microsoft’s native
app platform for Windows 10 that was supposed to be this huge thing that worked on Windows
Phone and Xbox and Hololens and what not, and while the old Edge was built on top of
it, the new one will be built on top of the older Win32 platform. Kind of understandable, since that’s just
what Chromium uses and because older Windows platforms only support Win32, but yeah, it’s not
a good look. Together with multiple new key apps from Microsoft
like Teams, Visual Studio Code and the new Skype that didn’t go the UWP / Microsoft Store
route, this definitely shows that Microsoft has either significantly de-prioritized or delayed its efforts to build a proper new app platform. And that’s a good place to end the announcements
and start exploring why Microsoft made this switch. The announcement post they wrote on GitHub
would like you to believe that they switched because their love for the open source community
was too strong and they just couldn’t contain it anymore, but of course that’s more of a
PR story than anything. Don’t get me wrong, the new Microsoft does
seem to love Open Source quite a bit, but they could have just open sourced Edge, or decided to adopt Firefox’s Gecko engine, which is truly open source and would have
given Google Chrome some proper competition. Open source was a factor for sure, but not
the main factor in my opinion. In fact, this was, more than anything, just a simple admission of defeat. Microsoft tried really hard to make Edge work,
they poured resources into it, made it actually a pretty decent browser aaand it never really
took off. So instead of continuing to build their own
thing and burning money, I think they will try to start influencing Chromium instead. Hear me out. Historically, Google has been notoriously
unwilling to support most Microsoft Initiatives like Windows Phone, like the UWP platform, like
the Microsoft Store, like, you know, making their websites work well in Edge, or more
recently Windows 10 on ARM. But now Microsoft can just, uh, gently nudge
them into the right direction by contributing the right code to Chromium. Starting with ARM, it seems like Snapdragon
processors are finally going to become viable for Windows 10 this year with the recently
announced 8cx. Until now, one of the main things holding
the platform back was that Chromium apps weren’t native and had terrible performance on it. But now with Microsoft’s contributions, that
will change. The new Edge, Chrome, Electron apps, they
will all be running natively on ARM. Given that in a few years from now I expect
a big chunk of Windows devices to run ARM chips, I think this is hugely important for
Windows. Similarly, I also wouldn’t be surprised if
Microsoft slowly tried to introduce UWP support to Chromium. In fact, some open source Google projects
like WebRTC for example have been introduced to UWP and I think there is more to come. Like, ever heard of Windows 10 Lite? It is the current code name of Microsoft’s
long-standing dream of building a version of Windows that doesn’t have all the nasty
legacy stuff Windows has been carrying around with it for decades. It would make things lighter, faster, more
secure by only running UWP apps an web apps. Kind of Like Microsoft’s take on a Chromebook. Problem is, the new Edge, which I suppose will be a huge part of this new OS is neither of those things, it’s a Win32 app. So it couldn’t actually run on this new platform… Unless, until then, Microsoft finds a way to turn it into a UWP app. And that would mean that in the future, conveniently,
Chromium browsers and all the Electron apps could also easily become native UWP apps if
they wanted to. Look, I bet that Microsoft would have preferred to have its own successful UWP browser, that the masses adopted and loved, but since that failed, the next logical business decision is to adopt this popular thing that everyone uses, Chromium, and to slowly turn it into something that Microsoft can benefit from. And we’ll see how much Google
will let them get away with. If you are excited about the future of Edge, there is a link to joining the Edge insider program in the description below, but if you are worried that Chromium is becoming a little too dominant, or you just want to try something else, I actually recommend using Firefox. It’s become really good lately and it is not
controlled by any huge corporation. Now, I’ve been missing from YouTube for about 2 months for now, because … I’ve been doing some web development. I can’t wait to show you guys what I’m building, I think you guys are going to love it, but if you are like me and you want to build something cool yourself, then take a look at Skillshare. They have over 20 000 classes on not just
software development, but also graphic design, Photography, Marketing, whatever you can think
of, and I’d recommend this really nice beginner’s guide to Ruby on Rails, which is the framework I’ve learned. So start learning, click on the link below,
the first 500 to sign up will get 2 months for free and using that link really helps
my channel out as well.