This might be a controversial opinion, but I'm thinking that maybe having Microsoft Edge be Chromium based is a good thing for the web. And why, You say? Shouldn't there be more competition in browser engines? Shouldn't we have lot of different implementations which keep the browser vendors honest?
I am realizing that this is exactly what's going to happen.
Instead of being off in a corner trying to get developers to adopt their code and platform, Microsoft has opted to “join the team” and contribute to a major open source project. This means that they will be there if Google tries to commit code that's suspiciously biased, or will be competing on a level playing field with Chrome over features and performance. And yet, they will both be trying to make Chromium the best it can be because they both benefit, and they can use any “wins” they make to the codebase as good PR for their company.
Instead of Google being the Big Boy in the room when decisions about Chromium are made, Microsoft gets to have a say as well and can hold Google's butt to the fire when it comes to code quality and performance. Instead of seeing this as “less competition” I see this as “fiercer competition” as they both vy for developer's mindshare. And we all win when the core codebase is improved.
Google can't just pout and fork the codebase, because they will essentially be ceeding victory to Microsoft, who will be seen as the generous company coming in to help keep Chromium alive.
Also, Microsoft is betting on this codebase in other ways with Electron, Visual Studio code, and more becoming web-based (or already are).
The only loser I see here is Firefox.
They are left out in the cold while fighting for user's rights. If they could just stop stumbling over their own feet, and double down on WASM and RUST, they could really make a big impact.
STOP SCREWING UP MOZILLA! WE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED! But it's hard when you keep punching yourself in the face with Mr. Robots, Broken Plugins, etc.
Anyway, take heart. Competition is good, and what Microsoft has done is take the competition back to Chrome and to fight on a level playing field. I bet Edge will gain a big boost of users if Microsoft can keep it up and innovate on top of Chromium.
( Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay )