Microsoft has unveiled a number of upcoming changes that will make its web browser Edge the obvious choice for users of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.
In a lengthy blog post, the company announced it is working hard to implement intelligence changes that streamline workflows for Microsoft 365 customers.
For example, although people are often logged into personal and professional Microsoft accounts simultaneously, Edge will soon automatically open files in whichever profile was active when the link was clicked.
In a similar vein, any links shared with users via Teams and Outlook will soon appear in a dedicated tab in the Edge history page, which Microsoft says will “reduce the friction of trying to unearth the mail or message where the link was originally shared.”
And finally, to ensure users are equipped with necessary context, Edge is getting a new flyout menu that identifies who originally shared the link and via which app, as well as providing a portion of the original message.
These changes will reportedly come into effect at some point over the next six months.
Microsoft Edge: The perfect browser for Microsoft 365 users?
Although Google has made strong headway with its office software, Microsoft has always had the advantage when it comes to tight integration between apps and services, extending all the way out to the Windows operating system on which most business computers run.
With these upcoming changes, Microsoft is looking to further strengthen the connections between its products and position its web browser as the portal that ties everything together.
“Millions globally already rely on Microsoft 365 productivity apps and Microsoft Edge as part of their daily workflow. Over the next six months, we’re making the experience between Edge and Microsoft 365 more harmonious,” Microsoft declared.
“With Microsoft Edge, your workers not only get a fast and secure modern browser, but they’ll also get experiences that connect with Microsoft 365 apps to help them work smarter, maintain context throughout the day, and get more out of their Microsoft 365 subscription.”
In addition to strengthening the product suite as a whole, the changes are likely designed to drive new users towards Edge itself too. Although the browser has proven popular since it launched in January 2020, its growth has stagnated somewhat. According to the latest data from Statcounter, the Edge use base has expanded by only 0.54% since the turn of the year (currently totalling 3.77% of the market).
One factor contributing to this plateau is that, until now, the growth of Edge has been fuelled largely by the decline of Internet Explorer and Edge Legacy, both of which have been retired by Microsoft. But with few gains left to tap into here, Microsoft will need to find a way to snatch users from Chrome and the other major browsers. By providing new incentives for Microsoft 365 customers to make the switch, the company will hope it can do just that.