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No, Safari isn't switching from WebKit to Chromium FFS

Safari Keychain on Mac
Safari Keychain on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

There was a weird report making the social rumor rounds this morning that Apple would abandon WebKit as the Safari HTML rendering engine in favor of Google's Chromium fork.

It started with ChromeUnboxed:

A day after Christmas, a reader delivered a tasty little present to our collective inbox and the implications are pretty big. If the screenshots in this email/article are to be believed, it looks like Apple may be transitioning the Safari web browser over to Chromium in a move similar to what Microsoft has done recently with Edge. It is shocking, honestly, to consider Apple bending this way, but it makes a lot of sense in the long run.

Only no. Not at all.

And from someone better positioned than just about anyone to know about the present and future of WebKit:

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I usually wouldn't repost a tweet like that, but WebKit is open source and the nature of the rumor is such that it will no doubt spread like wildfire if it isn't put down. Hard.

But really, it shouldn't even need to be busted. Like I said in response to the original link on Twitter:

I'll believe it when I'm clawing out my cold dead eyes to see it.Chromium exists to serve Google's priorities, not the open web's. Microsoft embracing it (and devs catering to it) was bad for the open web. Apple doing so too would be almost the end of it.Also: Don't build for Chrome/Chromium. Or Safari/WebKit. Force all the browsers towards widely supported standards.We didn't defeat IE just to expediency the web into another corporate jail.

We need multiple browser engines competing to best implement the standards, and that means Safari's WebKit and Firefox's Gecko have to embraced and supported every bit as much, maybe more, than the dominant Chrome Chromium/Blink fork. And Microsoft should consider bringing back Edge, even if it hurts Electron performance. Because Electron isn't a solution. It's a symbol of the problem.

Happy holidays browser engineers, every one!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

2 Comments
  • It wouldn't really make sense, WebKit is a mature browser engine without any major issues, the same reason why Firefox wouldn't switch to it either. Microsoft switched to Chromium because EdgeHTML was… well, pretty bad. Plus Microsoft have used Chromium in some of their products, like VS Code for example.
  • Its a lie when you say Chromium exists to serve Google's priorities, not the open web's. If that was the case, then why is Chrome the most compliant with the web standards of today? Safari is the least compliant. Clearly your not a web developer, and it clearly shows. Check out html5test web site on compliant and compatible browsers. Guess what Rene? Safari is the the least compliant, and compatible browser on the market today with the web standards. That is 100% a fact. Please go check it out for yourself. It's obvious that you hate Google, and love Apple. But at least be informed with the truth. You even said "Force all the browsers towards widely supported standards.". Then please list the browser that is more compliant and compatible with the web standards of today. If you can be honest Rene, and list the most compatible and compliant browser, then you would find that Chrome is that browser.