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Mind the Chrome – I’ve Just Polished It. Introducing the new Microsoft Chromium-based browser

Microsoft has gone the Chromium route for the next generation of its web browser. What does it mean? Is this bright shiny new hot rod ready to take on its competition in the quarter mile? Short answer is maybe. Keep your thumb on that “NOS” button, as this opens up a world of opportunities for Microsoft.

In late 2018, Microsoft made the dramatic announcement the next Microsoft Edge web browser would be based on the Chromium engine. If Chromium sounds familiar, it is because it is the rendering engine on which Google’s Chrome browser is built. Intrigued? Keep reading.

The Quarter Mile

The Chrome browser has long been known for its rendering speed of web pages. Theoretically, Microsoft’s Chromium browser would see similar speed benefits. This is great news for the quarter mile, where Microsoft might at least keep up with the hot rod it is racing alongside.

The Endurance Circuit

Oh, but there’s more. In the last several years, Google Chrome had entered the app ecosystem world, offering a range of applications, dubbed Chrome Apps that ran within the Chrome app subsystem. Third-party vendors flocked to the fray and added their apps to the Chrome App store.

Today, it is hard to find an app that hasn’t been ported to the Chrome App store. Mozilla Firefox, while based on the Gecko rendering engine rather than Chromium, has done similarly. And we now have variants of each browser in the form of an operating system, namely Chrome OS and Firefox OS.

With Microsoft embracing Chromium in a tight bear hug, it is very conceivable that we will start to see Microsoft Chromium Apps, and a similar ecosystem that third parties will flock to. We might even surmise that apps originally built for Chrome might easily port to the new Microsoft browser. Plus, a new browser-based OS (“Edge OS,” maybe?) is great news for the original operating system king, which might put Microsoft in the pole position of the browser wars.

Recommendations

  • Keep an eye out for what Microsoft does with the new browser. This is a whole new set of wheels that offers a world of new capabilities.
  • Should Microsoft offer a Chromium app store similar to Google’s Chrome Web Store, software developers may have yet another platform to monetize their products.
  • Don’t put too many eggs in the Microsoft basket just yet. Microsoft Chromium is a great idea, but Microsoft has gone big and failed in the past. Microsoft Windows Phone should serve as a lesson learned on that score.

Bottom Line

The shift to Chromium as a browser platform is definitely on the right track, and it shifts Microsoft away from the proprietary debacle that we knew as Edge browser. It will be interesting what the next 6 to 12 months will bring for Microsoft. Keep watching the Info-Tech Technology Notes – we’ll give you our analysis as soon as we hear!