Microsoft is overhauling its Edge web browser and it will be based on the open source Chromium browser. Microsoft is also bringing the new Edge browser to desktop Linux however the Linux release might be a bit delayed.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer once dominated the browser market share, but it lost its dominance in the last decade to Google’s Chrome.
Microsoft tried to gain its lost position by creating Edge, a brand new web browser built with EdgeHTML and Chakra engine. It was tightly integrated with Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana and Windows 10.
However, it still could not bring the crown home and as of today, it stands at the fourth position in desktop browser usage share.
Lately, Microsoft decided to give Edge an overhaul by rebasing it on open source Chromium project. Google’s Chrome browser is also based on Chromium. Chromium is also available as a standalone web browser and some Linux distributions use it at as the default search engine.
The new Microsoft Edge web browser on Linux
After initial reluctance and uncertainties, it seems that Microsoft is finally going to bring the new Edge browser to Linux.
The new Edge browser will be available on 15th January 2020 but I think that the Linux release will be delayed.
Is Microsoft Edge coming to Linux really a big deal?
What’s the big deal with Microsoft Edge coming to Linux? Don’t we have plenty of web browsers available for Linux already? I think it has to do with the ‘Microsoft Linux rivalry’ (if there is such a thing). If Microsoft does anything for Linux, specially desktop Linux, it becomes a news.
I also think that Edge on Linux has mutual benefits for Microsoft and for Linux users. Here’s why.
What’s in it for Microsoft?
When Google launched its Chrome browser in 2008, no one had thought that it will dominate the market in just a few years. But why would a search engine put so much of energy behind a ‘free web browser’?
The answer is that Google is a search engine and it wants more people using its search engine and other services so that it can earn revenue from the ad services. With Chrome, Google is the default search engine. On other browsers like Firefox and Safari, Google pays hundreds of millions to be kept as the default web browser. Without Chrome, Google would have to rely entirely on the other browsers.
Microsoft too has a search engine named Bing. The Internet Explorer and Edge use Bing as the default search engine. If Edge is used by more users, it improves the chances of bringing more users to Bing. More Bing users is something Microsoft would love to have.
What’s in it for Linux users?
I see a couple of benefits for desktop Linux users. With Edge, you can use some Microsoft specific products on Linux. For example, Microsoft’s streaming gaming service xCloud maybe available on the Edge browser only.
As far as I know, the Full HD and Ultra HD Netflix streaming is only available on Microsoft Edge. This means you can ‘Netflix and chill’ in HD with Edge on Linux.
What do you think?
What’s your feeling about Microsoft Edge coming to Linux? Will you be using it when it is available for Linux? Do share your views in the comment section below.