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Microsoft engineers contributing to development of Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM

Microsoft engineers are actively contributing to the development of Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM. 9to5Google this week spotted a series of commits to the Chromium codebase from a pair of Microsoft software engineers, showing that the company is working hand-in-hand with Chromium and Google developers on the project.

We first caught wind in October that a native ARM version of Chrome for Windows laptops was in the works, following confirmation from a Qualcomm exec. At the time, it was unclear who was heading the charge, but it appears Microsoft is at least partially involved in development.

Any movement towards launching an ARM variant for Windows 10 laptops running on Snapdragon processors would be a big win for Microsoft. Despite the company's best efforts to get people using Edge, Chrome remains the most popular browser on the market.

While Chrome can run on Snapdragon laptops right now, it does so through emulation, which hinders performance. A native version for ARM PCs would boost the browser's performance, removing a potential roadblock for anyone looking to make the switch to a Snapdragon-powered PC.

However, as The Verge points out, Microsoft will have to relax its store policies if Chrome is to eventually make its way to the Microsoft Store. Currently, browsers submitted to the Store are required to use Microsoft's Edge rendering engine.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

27 Comments
  • This is really what development should be about: Open-source, cross-platform, uniformity. Just because someone uses Windows 10, Chrome, Google's Pixel, whatever doesn't mean that developers should shadow to just one platform or dissuade developers' ability to bring apps to their platforms. When developers work together, it increases app availability on all platforms. I like that Microsoft is championing this option :)
  • I agree. It gives the consumer choice..I personally use both Chrome AND Edge on my Windows 10 laptop and I like having that choice and not being forced to go with one or the other.
  • Me too, I go between edge and chrome. I'd use edge more if certain websites weren't better built specifically for chrome
  • I use five, one for each specific task- Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Edge & IE...
  • I used to have all of them installed to just play with each one and see how they progress but it got to be too much lol
  • Although having Google Chrome officially on the Microsoft Store would be ideal and the easiest route, Google can also release the ARM version of Google Chrome as an installable Win32 app (like it currently does with its normal browser) and bypass the store altogether.
  • All ARM apps will at present will have to go through the store not be downloaded as a Win32 application. Otherwise we will end up with the situation we have with android and windows (x64/x86) currently - malware. There is no dedicated Anti-Malware chip that scans constantly... and if there was such a chip, it also creates another set of issues. Like with anything there are always advantages and disadvantages. WoA is massive step in the right direction as we drastically need to reduce the number of times we charge laptops, tablets and smartphones per day.
  • at present ARM apps doesn't have to go trough the store, look for example at vlc for arm:
    https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html
    click on the arrow and you'll see ARM64 version
  • So does this mean that Microsoft is going to let other developers to use their own codebase instead of having to use Edge and reskinning it?
  • You're conflating making an ARM version of Chrome with putting in the Store. Those are not related. We could get an ARM version of Chrome that you just download from Google's site like you do today and that's the end of it. That's likely the scenario to play out.
  • ARM version of Chrome existed for much longer than Windows on ARM. Who is conflating things now?
  • Yes, a version that is specifically for Android... not Windows so your point _incanter_?
  • If you're referring to the Android version that will never be able to work on Windows.
  • How many Microsoft engineers does it take to push "recompile" button in Visual Studio? :-)
  • I'm gonna bet that the same people that said that ARM wouldn't be viable because it lacked Chrome are now gonna say that Microsoft is shooting themselves on the foot because there are now less reasons to use Edge.
  • * paging Bleached, paging Bleached *
  • Maybe he finally took up a hobby? I'm guessing bonsai.
  • WoA isn't viable because of price. That is my only issue with it. I liked the machines I have used, they have to be cheap though. They cannot compete at Surface Pro or Dell XPS prices.
  • @bleached, well they are... because they are on the market at similar price points... so yeah. What needs to happen is to get Mediatek on board and wham, a massive influx of cheap devices running WoA.
  • I agree with the price comment. It's a perception-of-value issue for the consumer.
  • "However, as The Verge points out, Microsoft will have to relax its store policies if Chrome is to eventually make its way to the Microsoft Store" Looks like they still don't realize, that WoA is not locked to MS Store.
    Microsoft needs to say that aloud already.
  • Can`t wait for an ARMED Surface
  • Even though I've used Edge exclusively since 2015, and don't have or even remotely want Chrome on any device ever again, this is admittedly one step forward for cooperation and teamwork... and a giant leap forward for WoA. If it means the millions of folks who have been brainwashed to believe that Chrome is the only browser on planet earth worth using will at least consider an Envy X2 or a Galaxy Book 2 now... then hear hear. Nadella's brilliant mobile strategy continues to unfold.
  • I may be wrong but the #1 reason why Microsoft is helping on Chromium is because Visual Studio Code is built-in on top of Chromium (via Electron framework) and they want VS Code to be available on Win10 ARM.
  • That would be interesting
  • I think this is great for Microsoft and google to work together to get Google
    Chrome on Windows 10 on ARMs CPU devices. Since some Andromeda proto
    types use ARMs CPU's it is a must for Google chrome to be capable of running
    well on Windows 10 on ARM CPU devices because this will make Andromeda
    folding Tablet / Cellphone hybrids more useful.
  • There is a native version of Google Chrome for ARM, which is of course mobile Google Chrome for Android. But it's not as feature rich.
    Edge is officially going to be Chrome now!