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Microsoft rebuilding Edge browser on Chromium, porting to Mac

Microsoft on Thursday announced plans to rebuild its Edge browser, included with Windows 10, to run on Chromium — and in the process, port it to macOS for the first time.

No firm launch date for the Mac port has been announced, but it may show up in late 2019, The Verge said. Microsoft is allegedly aiming less for expanded marketshare than making it easier for Mac-based Web developers to test on Edge without having to use Boot Camp to run Windows.

Chromium is the same open-source rendering engine that underlies Google Chrome, and Microsoft's corporate VP of Windows, Joe Belfiore, said that the company intends to collaborate with Google, Apple, and every other entity that makes Chromium contributions.

"People using Microsoft Edge (and potentially other browsers) will experience improved compatibility with all Web sites, while getting the best-possible battery life and hardware integration on all kinds of Windows devices," the executive commented.

Microsoft has reportedly been considering the switch for a year or more, under pressure from both businesses and the public at large to improve Web compatibility. Chrome's popularity has helped make Chromium a de facto standard.

Another benefit of the switch is that Edge will be untethered from Windows 10 and come to Windows 7 and 8, reducing headaches for organizations with older machines, and allowing Microsoft to make more frequent browser updates.

Apple and Microsoft have had browsers on each other's platforms in the past, but Internet Explorer for Mac has long been discontinued, and Apple abandoned Safari for Windows in 2012.