"Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences," explains Joe Belfiore, vice president of Windows. "People using Microsoft Edge (and potentially other browsers) will experience better compatibility with all websites, resulting in better battery life and hardware integration on all types of Windows devices."
Microsoft Edge is not going away, nor is the brand name. If you already use Edge on Windows, it will not change. All you will ultimately notice is that websites will make it more consistent once Microsoft has made this change.
So why is Microsoft changing its rendering engine? What time? Edge has fallen tremendously behind Chrome in terms of market share, and it's coming to the point where Chrome is the new IE6. Developers are optimizing for Chrome and Google has also created web services only for Chrome because it is often the first to adopt emerging web technologies. Microsoft has struggled to keep its Edge rendering engine in sync with Chromium.
The Verge understands that Microsoft has been considering this move for at least a year, and much of the push has been on the part of consumers and companies who wanted the company to improve web compatibility. Edge has improved this aspect, but even small compatibility issues have caused headaches to users along the way. A move to Chromium will immediately resolve these web compatibility issues and align Edge with Chrome and other browsers that also use Blink.
Microsoft also heard loud and clear from companies that want the company to support a modern Edge browser on all versions of Windows. Many companies have machines running Windows 7 and Windows 10 in a mixed environment. As a result, Microsoft is bringing Edge to Windows 7 and Windows 8, decoupling it from being exclusive to Windows 10. Edge will become a downloadable executable across all supported versions of Windows, which means Microsoft will be able to update it much more frequently before. It is not clear if this will be monthly, but it will no longer be linked to any Windows 10 update.
Another important part of Edge's review is for developers. Many web developers use a Mac to develop and test sites, but Edge does not exist and it is currently difficult to test the Microsoft Web rendering engine on a Mac without double booting Windows. Microsoft is now bringing Edge to the Mac. We understand that it is not a move designed to grab more market shares in particular; it's about making it easier for developers to test Edge. Microsoft has not committed to a specific date for Edge on Mac, but we expect to see it later next year