Back in March, Microsoft announced that it would move its Edge web browser from a 6-week release cycle to a 4-week release cycle. But it also said that it would offer businesses a slower 8-week extended release cycle via a new Extended Stable channel. Today, it expanded on how that will work.
“To more effectively serve organizations who may want a longer timeline, we will offer a new 8-week Extended Stable release cycle option, configurable by Group Policy, in addition to the regular 4-week Stable release cycle which will be the default beginning with Microsoft Edge 94,” the Microsoft Edge team writes in a new blog post. “Organizations can just select the release cycle option that is right for them.”
The new 8-week Extended Stable release cycle option for Microsoft Edge Stable will deliver cumulative feature updates aligned with even-numbered releases beginning with Microsoft Edge 94, Microsoft says. So any feature updates from odd-numbered releases will be packaged up and delivered as part of the subsequent even-numbered release. My brain hurts just thinking about this.
“For instance, if an organization selects the 8-week Extended Stable release cycle with Microsoft Edge 94, they will receive subsequent feature updates with Microsoft Edge 96, Microsoft Edge 98, and so on,” the Edge team explains. “While feature updates will be packaged and delivered with new version releases based on the selected release cycle, important security patches and fixes will be delivered as needed independent of the selected release option to help maintain browser security.”
IT administrators that wish to opt-in to the 8-week Extended Stable release cycle will need to find the TargetChannel group policy and select the Extended Stable option when the updated policy files ship with Edge 94. If this option isn’t chosen, Edge will move to the new 4-week Stable release cycle. (Organizations using Microsoft Endpoint Manager will be able to select the 8-week Extended Stable release option via Intune.)
This change will require Microsoft to update its Edge support lifecycle as well. Starting with Edge 94, Microsoft will continue to support the latest major version release of Microsoft Edge Stable, along with the previous two Stable” releases. But it will also support the latest major version release of Extended Stable and the previous Extended Stable release. Therefore, Stable will continue to get 12 weeks of cumulative support, while Extended Stable will get 16 weeks.
Version 94 isn’t far off. Microsoft will release Edge version 92 the week of July 22, and it plans to release Edge 93 the week of September 2. Edge 94 is currently slated for the week of September 23.