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Microsoft's Edge on Apple's macOS? It's more likely than you think for new browser

Chromium base should ease porting pains substantially

Microsoft may be closer to its first Mac browser in 14 years.

"We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS," Joe Belfiore said last December, when he announced the move to a Chromium-based engine for the Edge browser. "Improving the web-platform experience for both end users and developers requires that the web platform and the browser be consistently available to as many devices as possible."

Dialogue boxes touting support for macOS ("10.12 and above") have been spotted. The company has also invited interest in ports of Edge-on-Chrome for Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Edge is tightly integrated with Windows 10, allowing Microsoft to claim bragging rights over speed and power consumption. But building on top of the open-source Chromium project makes the browser much more portable.

Microsoft stopped developing a Mac browser 14 years ago with Internet Explorer for OS X at the end of 2005. IE for Mac OS X was a painful port of an app that had first appeared on the previous, original Mac OS in 1996. In 2002 we called the OS X port "a serious disaster" which degraded the experience of using Apple's shiny new OS. Few knew at the time that Apple was brewing its own native browser, Safari, which debuted six months later, in January 2003, and all was well again.

Apple has made moving iOS apps to the Mac easier thanks to its Marzipan project, which it's using to port the iOS TV app and possibly more. It would be a surprise if this wasn't the path Microsoft is taking.

Previews of ChromiEdge have been generally well received, comparing favourably to Google's implementation, but it stops far short of the feature set of the Windows 10 equivalent. If you want a cross-platform browser that's based on Chrome and syncs your history and bookmarks across devices, why not just use Vivaldi? ®

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