Google Chrome may not be able to come to Windows 10 S, even if Google wanted to

May 10, 2017

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Microsoft announced Windows 10 S earlier last week. It’s a new version of Windows 10 that can only run apps from the Windows Store, meaning that some of the classic desktop apps such as Google Chrome can’t be installed on Windows 10 S. At the official Windows 10 S launch event, Microsoft mentioned that developers will be able to bring their own browsers to Windows 10 S via the Windows Store, suggesting that companies like Google and Mozilla will be able to bring their browsers to Windows 10 S if they wanted to. But there’s a pretty huge catch.

According to the Windows Store policies, apps that browse the web must use the rendering engine that comes with the Universal Windows Platform — and that’s EdgeHTML. What this essentially means is that any app that browsers the web needs to use the same rendering engine as Microsoft Edge. Google Chrome, on the other hand, uses Chromium — which means it, unfortunately, won’t be able to come to the Windows Store even if Google wanted to bring its browser to the store. This policy was actually noticed by a Google Chrome engineer on Twitter:

The Windows Store policy mentioned above doesn’t state whether the policy applies to Win32 apps that are in the Windows Store via Microsoft’s Desktop App Bridge. So we reached out to Microsoft last week, and we got the following response where a Microsoft spokesperson said that the policy will make sure that browsers used by users in the Windows Store “ensure the protections and safeguards of our Windows platform.”

“Windows Store apps that browse the web must use HTML and JavaScript engines provided by the Windows Platform. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help ensure a quality experience and keep your devices safer. With this policy, instated early this year, the browser a customer chooses in the Store will ensure the protections and safeguards of our Windows platform. If people would like to access apps from other stores and services, they can switch to Windows 10 Pro at any time.”

Of course, Google might still be able to bring its Chrome browser to the Windows Store through some sort of partnership with Microsoft, but that seems more than unlikely. Windows Store doesn’t really have a lot of popular Win32 apps at the moment, apart from things like Evernote or Slack — but Spotify is bringing its app to the Windows Store, so at least some big apps are coming. Then again, some of Microsoft’s own desktop apps like Visual Studio Code and Microsoft Teams are still not available from the Windows Store.

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