MICROSOFT TO WORK WITH GOOGLE ON ITS EDGE BROWSER
Among the usage share of the web browsers, Microsoft’s Edge hasn’t made quite much of its name in the industry. The browser was released in the year 2015, and no progress was seen until the year 2017. Joe Belfiore, a Corporate Vice President in the Experiences and Devices division at Microsoft, revealed in an interview that CEO Satya Nadella wasn’t happy about the progress that they have made so far with Microsoft Edge browser. Belfiore told that “Satya came to us and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to see us make more progress on the browser,’”
“Google is doing well with web-based collaborative experiences, the Office team is investing more to improve ours, we want the web browser to be better,” says Belfiore, delivering Nadella’s comments. “Edge had a pretty mixed reputation,” Google has been spending a lot lately to enhance the capabilities of its browser like Google, on the other hand, is leading the game with almost more than 60% usage share of the web browsers according to W3Counter's browser stats for January 2019. Something had to change. Nadella believed that the browser has to go under a massive change. It was ultimately decided to start implementing the changes from scratch using Chromium on a fresh basis.“We wrote a paper. We wrote the paper for discussing an offsite that Terry Myerson [former Windows chief] had in October of 2017,” says Belfiore.
The paper was a script outlining the benefits and drawbacks of Edge and Microsoft selected several terms for the drawbacks. Eventually, it called them “headwinds.” In 2017, the problems associated with Microsoft Edge weren’t just technical, nor were they undoubtedly impossible. They were just, hypothetically, the things that were halting the process of its adoption.One the headwinds revealed that “Our volume use is low, partly because we’re only on Windows 10,” admits Belfiore. “In the global world of all the devices, although it’s huge, [Windows 10] is a minority.”The decision moving the edge to Chromium was on the list of methods to fix the identified problems. “We had this meeting and conversation, and we didn’t decide at that point to move to the Chromium engine. We considered it, we said, ‘No, we think we can get there with compatibility,’” says Belfiore.
With Google having a number of sustainable standards to speed up Chrome and Microsoft not having the structure to keep up with, they wanted the competitor’s assistance. “We did a little bit of a roadshow,” explains Belfiore. “We went and met with Bill Gates, we went and met with Kevin Scott, our CTO who came from LinkedIn, and Reid Hoffman who was on our board.”
The meetings aimed to visualize and get some outside perspective of swapping to Chromium and getting an idea on what to expect from the relationship with Google. “We were a bit nervous,” confesses Jatinder Mann, a Microsoft Edge program manager. “The fortunate thing is, as soon as we made the announcement, we got a lot of positive responses from Chromium engineers, from other Chromium browser vendors that were pretty excited to see us join this community.”
After the news of Microsoft switching Edge to Chromium, the work began under the collaboration between Google and Microsoft. Both the company’s engineers had been working together on several occasions before to help with each other’s design web standards, but this alliance proved to be very different. Microsoft’s embracing Chromium has further strengthened the relationships between the tech moguls.
“Even when we talked to Chromium engineers about best practices, they were pretty helpful,” says Mann. Google has even proposed good bugs for Microsoft engineers to help them with fixing the code base. The process has proved to be a working progress for both companies. “The fascinating thing for that area was Chromium engineers had started that project at some point. I think they took a hiatus, or some other priorities took over, so we picked up the project they had started and finished it off,” explains Mann. “We had a meeting with them where they’re talking about ‘this is on our agenda for next month, next quarter’ and we’re like, ‘Oh, we’re working on that right now’ and there were some delighted faces on the other side.”
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