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why don't browsers just ship with its own fonts?

Few (none?) of the ancient "web-safe fonts" are permissively licensed. And nice-looking fonts that look good on all OSes and that have a large set of glyph coverage are quite expensive to make (though I'm sure Google/Microsoft/Apple could afford it).

Google does sort of do this with the Droid family of fonts. https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Droid+Sans They're not perfect though, but it is a start. I think one or two of Apple's might be permissively licensed also but I'm not certain.

They used to, loooong time ago... At least I think so? I seem to remember Netscape on Linux bundling the fonts, not sure what they did with Arial/Helvetica on Windows 3.1.

However good fonts are a massive undertaking and only make sense for OS vendors, at least the fonts which include many languages.

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