The last time Microsoft released a web browser on the Mac platform was in 2003, that was Internet Explorer 5.2.3. Back then the MacOS X interface was still plagued with a very bubble gum look, and Internet Explorer still ruled the roost on Windows, competitors Firefox and Google Chrome were still yet to hit the scene.
In 2015, with the release of Windows 10, came the release of Microsoft Edge which Microsoft hoped might be the replacement for Internet Explorer, its much maligned web browser. Unfortunately Microsoft Edge lacked support for extensions at release, therefore its uptake really was hampered and other browsers continued to gain marketshare, most notably Google Chrome. At a crossroads in its development, Microsoft shocked the developer community when it announced it would discontinue development of its own rendering engine and would instead swap to the open source Chromium engine that forms the basis for Google Chrome; if you can’t beat’em, join’em!
The first Chromium-based release browser was released for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android in mid-January 2020 and includes support for extensions. Having installed tonight on my MacBook Pro the default install imported my bookmarks from Google Chrome, so it was a multi-step process for me of having to: quit Edge; go to Settings app and then within Security & Privacy, enable full disk access for Edge; Open Edge and within Bookmarks manage import from Safari; return to Security & Privacy and revoke that full disk access; quit Edge to complete that revocation; move the newly imported bookmarks. Phew, I think I need a coffee ☕️ after all that!
I think some work is needed with the Bookmarks manager, when dragging from the imported bookmarks folder to the Favourites Bar folder I’d’ve been forgiven for thinking I was doing this on an Intel 386 processor, it was painfully slow. Doing this task on Google Chrome is a fluid process, so I’m putting this down to initial release gremlins. That being said, thus far that is my only gripe, I’m typing this blog post using Edge and finding it works really quite nicely and is reasonably quick. I’ve installed the 1Password extension from the Microsoft Store, all worked nicely and have managed to access my passwords when logging into WordPress, though it doesn’t seem to access the Mac’s touchbar functionality that I noticed.
It will be interesting to see how this browser performs over the coming years, will it finally see Internet Explorer die a necessary death, I hope so. I am still forced to use it on occasion at work for Oracle Discoverer, I can’t tell you how dirty that makes me feel.