Microsoft plans to do some browser spring cleaning this year by removing Edge Legacy in favour Edge.
That means the Edge browser that shipped with Windows 10 when it launched five years ago — now called Edge Legacy — will be removed from Windows 10. The removal will happen with a cumulative monthly security update set to roll out on April 13th, 2021.
In its place, users will have the (surprisingly good) Chromium-based Edge, or whatever other browser they prefer to use.
Microsoft announced the retirement plan for Edge Legacy on February 5th, along with a reminder that it will end support for the old browser on March 9th, 2021. Microsoft’s speedy retirement for Edge seems rather funny considering how long it took the company to move people away from Internet Explorer.
For the vast majority of people, very little will change. Microsoft started rolling out the new Chromium-based Edge in June 2020. Most Windows 10 users likely installed an update that added the new browser to their computer (and consequently complained about the annoying pop-up that came with it).
Chromium is an open-source browser primarily maintained by Google. It also happens to be the basis for many web browsers, including Google’s Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi and now Microsoft Edge. Edge Legacy ran on Microsoft’s own EdgeHTML rendering engine.
The leap to Chromium brings several benefits, including broader extension support — any extension built for Chrome should work fine in Edge now — as well as better compatibility with current web technologies. Additionally, Chromium Edge is, in some ways, the best Chromium browser for Windows users thanks to optimizations Microsoft added. Edge tends to use fewer system resources, like RAM, than Chrome does while offering similar (or faster) speeds.
At the same time, the death of Edge Legacy means one less browser engine on the market. Chromium is by far the dominant force in browsers now, which could lead to a browser ‘monoculture’ with Google holding sway over web technologies and standards.