Following that old saying, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em', Microsoft might be kicking its Edge browser to the curb and replacing it with a Chromium-based browser.
This would be a huge shift in strategy, and it's basically a done deal, according to Windows Central and the anonymous sources it spoke with. We reached out to Microsoft for comment, and of course were stonewalled.
"Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation and does not have a comment on this topic," the company told us.
It wouldn't shock us if this happened, though. Despite shipping as the default browser in Windows 10, Edge has never been able to capture a large share of the market. According to data culled by Net Applications, Chrome is the dominant browser in terms of usage with a 63.6 percent share of the market, followed by Internet Explorer and Firefox at 11.19 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Only 4.34 percent of desktop and laptop users turn to Edge to browse the web.
Initially, Edge represented Microsoft's attempt to regain its position atop the browser market, as with the early days of Internet Explorer. Microsoft developed a new EdgeHTML rendering engine for Edge, and promised a faster, more agile browser experience with some advanced capabilities.
The new browser that Microsoft is reportedly developing is based on a modified version of Google's open-source Blink rendering engine (codenamed Anaheim) that powers Chrome. It's said to replace Edge outright, not sit alongside it, though it's not clear if Microsoft will still call it Edge or something else.
Chrome has its own share of issues, namely it can be a memory hog on some PCs. However, given the market share numbers, users are likely to welcome Microsoft's engine swap. Of course, the success of Microsoft's next browser will be partially dependent on whether it can get out of its own way—the more features it tries to cram into Edge's replacement, the greater the risk that users will just stick with Chrome.
It's not clear when Microsoft might introduce its next browser—Windows Central reckons it will show up in the 19H1 Windows Insider builds that are currently being tested. If so, it could debut with the next major update to Windows 10.