Microsoft Continues to Make Surprising Open Source Announcements in 2018

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Just a few weeks after stunning the IT world by announcing a future web browser based on the open source Chromium project, Microsoft has upped the ante with another surprising announcement: the tech giant’s next-generation web browser will also include a macOS version, which means that it firmly intends to compete against Apple’s own Safari browser. This is just the latest in a series of news stories that clearly show Microsoft is heavily leaning towards supporting the open source software development movement.

Open source developers and supporters will always remember 2018 as the year when Microsoft made a big splash by including Linux support, acquiring the GitHub coding platform and broadcasting its Chromium plans. For the most part, the open source community has welcomed Microsoft, even though a few purists are doubtful about the tech giant’s intentions. It should be noted that the Edge on Chromium web browser project will not fully embrace open source; it will be a proprietary software application similar to Google Chrome, but Microsoft will keep a finger on the pulse of the Chromium project, and this means making contributions as well as paying attention to coding trends.

As for Google Chrome, members of its development team are probably slightly worried about the potential loss of market share. The main reason Microsoft is going in the Chromium direction is because the Edge browser has been losing considerable market share in recent years even though Windows 10 has managed to extract a nice slice of the global operating system pie. Microsoft intends to support both Chrome extensions and apps while at the same time continuing to support the Universal Windows Platform. Interestingly, deploying Edge on Chromium for Windows 7 may result in some users staying on that operating system instead of upgrading to Windows 10, but this is a chance Microsoft is willing to take for the purpose of regaining web browser market share.

It is important to remember that Microsoft had previously adopted Chromium for its Edge on Android browser. Ever since the Edge app was released for Android and iOS mobile devices last year, quite a few users and tech journalists have remarked that the browsing experience is not only pleasant but also a solid alternative to Google Chrome, which often comes across as a memory and battery hog. Microsoft has also promise to contribute accessibility improvements to the Chromium project, and this is a very positive announcement.

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