Microsoft's Edge browser keeps hurting itself.

A critical analysis of Microsoft's business strategy with its new Edge web browser based, built on Google’s Chromium open-source project, and how it could potentially affect the company in the long run

Chromium Dominated Web

The internet world is engrossed in a war amongst web browsers. Nonetheless, Google's Chromium appears to be the clear victor at the moment. Larger companies, including Microsoft itself, are transitioning towards this new Chromium age, abandoning their proprietary engines.

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Recently, Microsoft along with a new and improved Edge browser, adopted Chromium and abandoned Edge HTML. Switching to Chromium might seem logical at first glance, given the circumstances.

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However, the reality isn't quite that simple. A closer look reveals that Microsoft's decision might have unintended, negative long-term consequences that could backfire.Microsoft's submissive contribution to Google's supremacy might harm their future expansion attempts.

Microsoft's Past Struggles

Historically, Microsoft has struggled in matters concerning web development. In the 1990s, their Internet Explorer was subjected to scrutiny due to anti-competition lawsuits. Microsoft seemed to have learnt a lesson and launched Edge in 2015.

The goal was to offer a sleek, fast, and efficient running browser that could strengthen Microsoft’s image. However, facing the Chromium's monopoly, Microsoft was compelled to switch to this engine in 2019. On the surface, it looked like a sensible move.

But in reality, it seems like Microsoft gave up. It abandoned EdgeHTML, its proprietary web rendering engine, making Google's rendering engine dominance even stronger.

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The Edge and Chromium Transition

Microsoft's transition to Chromium was meant to gain browser market share. EdgeHTML had a challenging history; it was daunting for developers, had limited compatibility, and suffered frequent breakdowns.

The decision to shift to Chromium was applauded by most. It was believed that the shift would lead to an efficient web experience, given the Edge’s performance record.

However, endorsing Chromium was a tacit acceptance of Google's monopoly in the web browsing world. It means supplementing the dominance of a potential rival.

Exposing Google's Monopoly

Edge giving up and adopting Chromium perhaps reveals the extent of Google's dominance over web browsing technology. It's as though Google has effectively monopolized the web rendering engine world.

Microsoft’s decision strengthened Google's monopolistic control of this essential element of web browsing technology. But monopolies stifle competition and innovation. Innovation and healthy competition lead to a more vibrant and progressive technology sector.

The Losing Battle

Abandoning EdgeHTML might have been Microsoft's only option. The company needed a browser that provided a seamless web experience which EdgeHTML was unable to do.

Microsoft also needed a browser that could retain users and attract more. Nevertheless, in doing so, Microsoft has appeared to surrender to Google's supremacy.

In the fight to control the browsers that dominate the web, Microsoft seemed to be losing. And its move to Chromium appears as a tacit acceptance of this state of affairs.

Monopoly Over Web-Development Tools

Creating a proprietary web browser rendering engine like EdgeHTML is a significant investment of time, labor, talent, and money. The returns, however, can be incredibly rewarding. It can enhance Microsoft's bottom line and have a lasting impact on web technology development.

By abandoning EdgeHTML for Chromium, Microsoft has left Google in undisputed control of the web-development tools sector. This could also impact web development tools significantly.

Effect on Web Developers

A world dominated by a single web browsing technology could have serious implications for web developers. Though it might simplify development and testing processes, it also leaves developers at the mercy of Google's decisions regarding updates and changes to the browsing technology.

Microsoft's decision to adopt Chromium could lead to a standardization of web browsing technology. However, having Google as the sole provider of this essential technology might not always be beneficial.

Implication on Browser Market

From a consumer point of view, the Google monopoly situation isn't ideal either. A single dominant player in any market is rarely a good thing. It stifles competition, can limit the diversity of offerings available to consumers, and can lead to neglect once the dominant player feels secure in its position.

Microsoft's shift may not seem significant at first, but there is much more at stake than just another web browser.

Antitrust Concerns

A key matter in all of this, is that Google's dominance could raise antitrust concerns, as it did with Microsoft in the late 1990s. Some argue that Google’s monopoly is not by coincidence but strategy. Users, web developers and even competing firms have shown concern.

Some believe that Google is leveraging its dominance to push its own agenda which is not always in the best interest of the multitude.

Remaining Optimistic

On a positive note, Microsoft’s decision to switch to Chromium isn’t necessarily a death sentence. It could provide them time to gather strength and resources for a future comeback in the web arena and break the monopoly.

For users concerned about the Chromium domination, it’s important to remember that there are still other viable alternatives in the browser market.

In the end, for both developers and users, diversity and robust competition provide the optimal environment for technology progression and growth.

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