Given how many times it made news the past year or so, you might be surprised to find out that the new Microsoft Edge web browser still hasn’t had a release marked as “stable” yet. Sure, the name itself has been around much longer but the current Edge still uses Microsoft’s home-made web engine. The new Edge based on the same Chromium core that powers Google Chrome is still slated to launch early next year and that’s because Microsoft is still prepping it to better fit business and enterprise use.
To some extent, this is another subtle admission of defeat from the company that sparked the first browser wars (between Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer). By rebasing Edge on Chromium, Microsoft practically admitted it could no longer compete by reinventing the wheel yet again. By putting a larger focus on business customers, it is also basically saying that it has fewer chances of success in the consumer market against Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari.
You have probably now seen the new Microsoft Edge logo, which moves away from the “e” that has been associated with the baggage of Internet Explorer and towards a more corporate-friendly image. Microsoft is also positioning Edge as a boon to IT departments that no longer have to maintain two different browsers, one for internal use and one for external use.
That’s partly because Redmond is now trying to sell Edge as the gateway to the corporate Intranet. Together with Bing’s new natural language capabilities, Edge users will be able to easily and securely access files, web pages, and even office floor plans (if those are available) right from within the same browser they use to search for files and information over the Internet. Microsoft also promises to make it easier to take those Internet-sourced materials into Office documents for work.
Of course, some of the benefits of focusing on the enterprise eventually trickle down to consumers as well, particularly when it comes to security. Whether the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge will finally prove to be better than both Internet Explorer and the old Edge remains to be seen when it finally rolls out. That will take place on January 15, 2020 for Windows and macOS users in over 90 languages.