Why Microsoft Edge Will Probably Never Be on iOS or Android

Edge on iOS

Its time to set the record straight about browsers on iOS and Android for that matter. I hear people claiming they use Chrome on iOS. Because of that there is a complaint that Edge is not on iOS or Android. While I could never say never, especially since I do not work for Microsoft or the Edge team, I think it is safe to say they will not release a version of Edge on these two platforms.

Chrome on iOS is NOT Chrome

'Chrome' is available on iOS. However, this is not Chrome proper. It is a Safari WebView with a custom wrapper that synchronizes a user's favorites and browser history. It is a convenience the Chrome team felt was important enough to support.

Chrome iOS iPhone

Support is the key word. That is because the Chrome team has no control over the iOS webview and all its quirks. This is not the same rendering or JavaScript engine the team engineers. This means they must field all the issues customers have with 'Chrome' on iOS.

This means there is a brand quality expectation that quite frankly cannot be met because the iOS webview and Safari for that matter are no where near what Chrome offers. In short they are taking a big risk and handling issues that quite frankly Apple should handle. So they are giving Apple free technical support.

Edge and Other Platforms

The mission of the Edge team is to be the best browser on Windows. That means they are trying to be laser focused to meet one goal.

Have they?

No, not yet. They are getting there.

If Microsoft decided to release 'Edge' on iOS or Android it would not be the same Edge in Windows.

Other than FireFox, I am not aware of a browser on Android that uses a rendering engine other than WebKit. The hundreds of browsers available on Android are just forks of the same engine with slightly different UIs.

On iOS there is even less diversity. iOS Safari's webview is the only engine available. The webview does not enjoy parity with Safari's feature support, so many features will not work. And any browser brand that chooses release an iOS version sacrifices their level of feature support

Summary

Until Microsoft changes the Edge mission I doubt they will consider an iOS or Android version. And because they wont be able to use EdgeHTML on those platforms I also doubt they would consider the engineering undertaking required to support those platforms.

Plus, let's face it, users on those platforms wont think about Edge as a browser.

As I was preparing this article I came across a great article about Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO. I read this quote and thought about this article:

"But it’s easy to see why Nadella would apply its concepts to Microsoft, a company whose philosophy was once so fixed that it could be summed up as “everything has to be on Windows and God forbid we do something that works well on another platform,” as Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi puts it."

MSN Article on Satya

So maybe....you never know.

I do think having an option to make my favorites available on those platforms would be nice. I plan on switching to Android before the end of the year.

Extensions would be a nice options, but extensions are not available for mobile devices. There are many good reasons for this, and I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

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