Microsoft is cutting back on apps and concentrating on Edge

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Following on from the much-publicised reorganisation of Microsoft, it looks like the effects are already begging to be felt, with the company seemingly switching focus from developing apps for Windows 10 to working on improving its Edge web browser.

This comes from a report on Thurrott.com, which suggests that Microsoft is moving development teams from some of its built-in Windows 10 apps, such as the Stocks and Weather apps, to positions on the Edge team.

The move appears to align with Microsoft’s renewed focus on enterprise features over consumer ones. It could also be considered a positive move, as some of the apps that come included with Windows 10, such as Stocks, are rarely used by most users, and the Edge browser still lags behind Chrome and Firefox when it comes to features and market share.

If Microsoft is indeed moving developers from its stock Windows 10 apps to Edge, then we may see some of them disappear from future versions of Windows 10.

However, some built-in apps, such as Mail and Calendar, are more widely-used by Windows 10 customers, and we’re not sure if development will be winding down for those apps as well. We’ve contacted Microsoft for a comment, and will update this news story when we hear back.

Progressive Web Applications’ time to shine

While the move could be viewed as Microsoft losing confidence in its Microsoft Store, and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that you can install from there, it could also mean that the Store is becoming more popular. This is because an increasing number of third party software developers are now creating UWP apps, which means Microsoft doesn’t feel the need to create its own.

It could also be a sign of Microsoft’s commitment to Progressive Web Applications (PWA). These are web-based apps and websites that act like normal apps and will be available through the Microsoft Store.

These web apps use a number of technologies including Service Worker, Fetch networking, Push notifications and more, which will come with EdgeHTML 17 (the next version of the rendering engine that powers the Edge browser).

So, if Microsoft is moving away from UWP apps to PWA, it makes sense to move app developers to the Edge team, which will be vital in supporting these new web-based applications.

It’s always fascinating to watch a large company like Microsoft evolve before our eyes, so we’ll be watching these new developments closely, as it may indicate what the future hold for Windows.