Microsoft Edge to Launch Without Key Features

Posted on November 6, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 with 49 Comments

The new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge will launch in January with some key features missing in action. That’s a bit surprising, given the news that it will also be bundled immediately with Windows 10. What’s the rush?

Microsoft announced this past Monday that the new Edge will become generally available on January 15, 2020. And it considers the latest Edge beta—available through the Edge Insider Program—a so-called “release candidate,” even though the Windows team no longer uses this term. (And even though it’s nonsensical to call the Beta channel release anything other than a beta. Let’s move on.)

Those who have been using the new Edge in Canary (nightly updates), Dev (weekly updates), or Beta (updated every 6 weeks) form were likely curious about the January “release” date, given that the current version of the product is still missing key functionality, most notably extension sync, but also history sync. But they won’t be ready in time, and Microsoft told Neowin that they just were “not important enough.”


This is an issue because Microsoft has also said that the new Edge will ship as part of Windows 10 as soon as it’s released. So the firm is not waiting for the next major upgrade, Windows 10 version 20H1, to make this change. Instead, it will ship the new Edge to PC makers immediately, even though it’s incomplete, and roll it out automatically to current Windows 10 users as well. Microsoft will not support running legacy Edge side-by-side with the new Edge either; when you install the new Edge, it will replace the old version.

Less problematic, but also worth pointing out, is that the new Edge will likewise not ship on Xbox One, HoloLens, Linux, or Windows 10 on ARM in January either. So I guess the date is kind of a soft launch, with incomplete releases on Windows 10, 8.1, and 7, and Mac.

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Comments (49)

49 responses to “Microsoft Edge to Launch Without Key Features”

  1. gregsedwards

    They're trying to capitalize on that new logo zeitgeist.

  2. anderb

    So long as it can download Chrome when it replaces IE on the desktop, it will meet the needs of the typical home user.

    It is somewhat ironic however that this situation has been made possible by finally decoupling the browser from the OS. Let the down-votes commence!

  3. sandy

    Perhaps because people so dislike the old Edge, MS figure the sooner they replace it with something reasonable the better?

    I am surprised MS are having so much difficulty getting history sync working, but the bookmark, history, & open-tab sync features (when they fully work) are only going to benefit the (currently) small number of users with Edge on multiple devices, and right now that's just us tech enthusiasts, no (or very few) ordinary people.

    For Microsoft's corporate customers, being able to switch the default browser from Internet Explorer 11 to Chredge (with its IE mode for legacy intranet sites) will be great, and that key market is less likely to make as much use of sync features as consumers.

    Still, I hope MS can get sync working (reliably) in the 1st quarter of 2020, both for Microsoft Account (consumer) and Azure AD account (business) logon scenarios.

  4. jaredthegeek

    How important is sync when it will only work on PC's at release anyway? How many people are using multiple PC's Day to day? Maybe a work computer and a home PC but I hope they are not syncing between the two.

  5. bart

    History not so much an issue for me. Timeline baby!?

  6. hrlngrv

    Given ALL the other Chromium-based browsers and MSFT's reputation for employing talented developers, New Edge seems to be taking them an awfully long time to bring to prime time capabilities.

  7. matthewitt

    With Enterprise as Microsoft's main focus these days, this doesn't surprise me. These types of sync features are consumer friendly, but at work most people just use one computer. And I doubt Extension Sync is important to many enterprises as well.

    Prioritizing things like IE Mode is what is going to get buy-in from enterprises.

    • kjb434

      In reply to MattHewitt:

      Agree. I care about these things on my personal PC and mobile phone, but at work I need Edge to run several apps.

      These apps work fine in old IE 11 and in the old Edge browser. As soon as the chromium based Edge can do this, corporations will adopt.

  8. Todd Northrop

    The lack of history and extension sync is a bummer, but at least we did get open tab sync, which for me is better than either of the missing ones. My specific nitpicks with the new Edge are:

    (1) The fact that the folder colors in Favorites are the same gray color as generic website icons, making them difficult to tell apart at a glance, and being inconsistent with Windows 10 folder colors. Folders should be yellow.

    (2) The Edge team purposely removed the very nifty favicon/spinner animation in the new Chrome tabs when a website is loading. They had left the animation in there for a few builds, but then purposely removed it, blaming it on a coding error or something. It not only looks cool, but has the benefit of always showing the favicon in the tab, even when the website is loading.

    Maybe this seems petty, but I'm sure everyone has their little gripes.

  9. robincapper

    Curious move, I suspect something is pushing Microsoft to rush this and it's technical rather than marketing. What other things arrive in Jan, maybe some big Office 365 or Gaming features built on Chrome base?

  10. chaad_losan

    Without sync people won't care. A release candidate should be feature complete.

  11. james_rainey

    Consumers won't notice. Enterprise users who would, are probably already using Beta versions. Either way, I'm happy to see the new version.

  12. sharpsone

    I think the pros still outweigh the cons, I can live without those features for now.

  13. Daekar

    Those features are neat but I don't know anybody in real life that would even notice if they were never implemented except myself.

    • Bibbit

      In reply to Daekar:

      I use it at work all the time. I do lots of development research online and certainly don't want to bookmark every page I visit. Often times I need to know something I figured out a year or more ago, but don't have the site(s) bookmarked. So I search through my history to find what I'm looking for to get what I need.

  14. JerryH

    I see several comments in the threads (didn't want to single out just one of them to reply to, so doing this top level) that mention corporate is almost equivalent to 1 machine <-> 1 user. Its like nobody ever heard of VDI. Non-persistent virtualization (where you save money) is a place where you would like to have sync take place between your work machine and your virtualization solution. I'd also like it to sync to Edge in the "Work Profile" on my Android phone of course too once that is ready.

  15. ghostrider

    Reminds me of first gen Edge which was far from ready when that 'shipped' too - and MS paid the price to this very day. MS will continue their parasitic assault on the competition though - that won't change.

  16. Fuller1754

    Those features *aren't* important enough to delay launch. Extension sync? Big deal. Shipping without them is the right move. According to the informal poll known as the comments on this article, even the lack of the favicon spinner animation during page loads is more of a loss than history and extension sync. The relatively few people who care about this can continue using their favorite browser in the meantime until said features appear in Edge. But I think getting this (really nice) new version of their heretofore unsuccessful browser out quickly is important. No extension sync out of the gate, huh? Sure, at least the new Edge HAS extensions to sync!

    Like most people, I use the web on a PC. And like most people, I use the web on a phone. And like most people, I've never cared about these two linking together in any way.

  17. jupast

    Don't these people learn? If a person tries it and it's missing features from the outset, they leave and they don't come back.

    They get one chance at a first impression, and they're repeating mistakes of the past. Honestly, some of these decisions are mind-boggling. As Paul said, what's the rush anyway.

  18. c_j_martinez

    It’s deja vu all over again. History sync is “not important enough”? That would arguably be the single most important and useful sync feature. Even more than Bookmarks, which many people nowadays don’t even use.

    • SWCetacean

      In reply to C_J_Martinez:

      That's news to me. Before today I never even thought that history sync would be a useful feature. And I (plus my wife and my co-workers) use favorites/bookmarks all the time; I have a set of favorites that I put on the favorites bar, then a hierarchy of bookmarks in the Other Favorites section categorized by subject. The bookmarks are the primary method that I use for browsing as every website that I frequent is saved as a favorite and I can just click around to get where I want to go.

      • jgraebner

        In reply to SWCetacean:

        It might be a case that most people use one or the other. I very rarely use bookmarks now, but instead largely rely on the auto-complete aspect of synced history for going to pages that I frequently visit.

  19. richardbottiglieri

    I am a bit baffled as to why the sync component is taking so long and coming in piecemeal. Heck, open tab syncing isn't available in Beta yet, either. Sigh. Hopefully, these items make their way into the Dev and Canary channels sooner rather than later.

    All of that said, I'm still using the Dev build as my default browser on all of my Windows and macOS devices. It's pretty solid.

  20. codymesh

    huh, my comment disappeared.

  21. Winner

    That's why it's on the Edge.

  22. ftank

    I use 'legacy' edge for inking on PDF's everyday and this is just not up to scratch on chredge - any mention of improving inking support?

    Very glad I have not jumped on board a surface pro X

  23. Paul Avvento

    So does that mean for ARM devices they will Uninstall the version of Edge that is ARM native (at least according to Pro X reviews) and replace it with an emulated version? That makes no sense...

  24. Chris_Kez

    You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Microsoft should ship this when key functionality is available, not before. I swear these guys only shoot straight when they’re aiming at their foot.

  25. pherbie

    Edge is currently so far behind in usage share if nothing else, CREdge even without sync will be a huge improvement.

    Especially in corporate, where users usually have an affinity to only one machine anyway.

    Bring it on. sooner rather than later.

  26. illuminated

    I did not even know about extension and history sync. They seem to be very important to some people but are they really important for majority of users? I doubt that. MS also must have telemetry that shows feature usage so I doubt that they are delaying feature just to irritate Thurrott :)

    • rob_segal

      In reply to illuminated:

      History sync is really important for mobile.

      • illuminated

        In reply to rob_segal:

        It may be one of those things that is super-important to geeks.

      • illuminated

        In reply to rob_segal:

        I still fail to grasp the greatness of this feature. Could somebody enlighten me? What is the use case? Why it is so important? Why it is a must for a new browser?

        • rob_segal

          In reply to illuminated:

          History sync is important for people who user a browser on a PC and a mobile phone. Bookmarks sync is great, but without history sync, it forces users to either memorize or bookmark every URL they visit if they want to see it on their phone, a device consumers use more than a PC. When Edge is competing against Chrome which easily syncs a user's browser history across PC and mobile, this is a must-have feature. Without it, those consumers will not switch from Chrome and therefore, Edge is at a huge disadvantage. A new browser cannot compete with Chrome and even Safari without features like this.

        • Todd Logsdon

          In reply to illuminated:

          maybe i'm in the minority but I don't do a lot of browser surfing on my phone. Usually it's only to check restaurants around me, what time restaurants are open, or just some off fact (like who sang some song heard on the radio or who did the original version). Most everything else I do on my phone there's an app that does it. But then I don't do trips for work or anything where I might do that. I have a desktop and laptop at home I can do that with.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to illuminated:

      If we're only concerned with the majority of users, why have any browser other than Google Chrome? OK, privacy, so add Firefox. The only need for a bundled browser is to download Chrome or Firefox, and that requires little more than a single dialog.

    • mrlinux11

      In reply to illuminated:
      Don't underestimate Microsoft not purposely delaying this feature to irritate Thurrott. ?

  27. MikeCerm

    What I don't understand is WHY these features won't ship. These are features that Google has already done all the work of developing and implementing. All Microsoft had to do was just copy what Google did for version 1, and then iterate on top of that. It makes no sense to use Chromium as a base if you're not going to use it.