I am quite surprised by all the public reactions I read about Microsoft's last browser moving to Chromium. I think most if not all commenters have missed the real point, a real point that seems to me way bigger than Edge. Even Mozilla's CEO Chris Beard has not mentioned it. People at Microsoft must be smiling and letting go loud french « Ahlala...». Let me remind everyone that a browser is, from a corporate point of view,  a center of cost and not a center of revenue; if you're really nitpicking, you can call it a center of indirect revenue. So let's review and analyse the facts:

  • I am surprised by the codename supposedly attached to that future version of Microsoft's browser, Anaheim. That codename is not confirmed by Microsoft but I find it quite surprising for a web browser... First, Anaheim is in California and not in Washington State where most of the browser stuff is supposed to happen; yes, it's a detail but still, it's a surprising one. Secondly, Anaheim is really a weird codename in the history of browser codenames at Microsoft. So what happened in Anaheim, CA? A decisive meeting?
  • The blog article about Edge and Chromium was published by a Corporate Vice President of the Windows division. That's absolutely not normal for a browser-only decision.
  • Edge's and IE's market share are, sorry to my dear Microsoft friends, not enough to care that much about such a change. Yes, the browser ecosystem is like a real ecosystem and the lack of genetic diversity that implies EdgeHTML's retirement (see also immediately below) is a global concern. But from a business point of view, nothing to see here, sorry.
  • The blog article and the Github readme page (most people have not seen that one...) say Edge will switch to Chromium. They don't say that EdgeHTML will die. As a matter of fact, EdgeHTML itself is mentioned in the blog article's title and only there, and not at all in the GH page.
  • Microsoft's CEO is currently impulsing a change that sounds to me like a new Samsung's « Change everything but your wife and children ». The tech debt at Microsoft is immense and Nadella rang the rush bell.

So I think the whole thing is not about Edge. The microcosm reacted, and reacted precisely as expected (again, probable laughters in Redmond), but this is really about Windows and the core of activity of Microsoft. Impulsing a change like a move to Chromium and using it as a public announcement by a Windows CVP, is, beyond technical and business choices, a political signal. It says « expect the unexpected ».

I think Microsoft Windows as we know it is about to change and change drastically. Windows as we know it could even die and Microsoft move to another new, different operating system, Edge+Chromium's announcement being only the top of the iceberg. And it's well known that 9/10th of an iceberg remain below water surface.

The gravity center of the company is then about to change too; Nadella probably knows too well the impact of the Windows division on the rest of the company during the Vista years and he certainly knows too well the inter-division wars at Microsoft. It could be highly time to shake the whole thing. As I told Dean Hachamovitch long ago, « you need a commando and what you have now is a mexican army with a lot of generals and not enough soldiers ». Still valid?

Of course, I could be partially or even totally wrong. But I don't think so. This announcement is weird on too many counts, and it's most certainly on purpose. It seems to be telling us « guys, read between the lines, the big message is right there ».