Microsoft to wipe out old Edge browser with Windows 10 security update

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Illustration by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Microsoft will yank its old Edge browser out of Windows 10 PCs on April 13, an important step in its yearslong effort to move its immense customer base to a modern browser.

Two decades ago, the software giant’s Internet Explorer crushed competitors like Netscape Navigator and dominated the market, but Microsoft let the software languish. Newer rivals like Firefox and Chrome seized the initiative, and Apple’s Safari began a revolution in mobile browsers. Microsoft couldn’t keep up, even after trying to strip IE down into a modernized Edge, so it moved Edge to Google Chrome’s open-source Chromium foundation. It renamed the earlier Edge as Edge Legacy.

IE has been a relic for years, but now Edge Legacy also is going on the software scrap heap. On Friday, Microsoft announced that a Windows security update will install the new Edge, if it hasn’t already been installed, and remove Edge Legacy. The new Edge already is the default browser on the latest Windows 10 version.

Microsoft has dramatically changed its stance on browsers over the years. Where it once saw them as a threat to Windows, a rival software foundation that runs on any device, it’s now embraced browsers. On PCs, they’re the most widely used software, and browser-based apps help Microsoft extend its services beyond Windows.

Microsoft released the first test version of the new Edge for public testing in April 2019 and released the first stable version in January 2020. The software is similar to Google’s dominant Chrome, relying on its core software, but includes differences like a vertical tab arrangement and collections to house information you gather while on the web.

It’s also built Edge features like improved search designed to help Microsoft’s sizable population of business users.


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