Microsoft’s Pushing More Engineers to Edge

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 39 Comments

Living on the (Microsoft) EdgeWith the re-org dust now starting to settle and as we wait to hear from Microsoft about how they are going to change the path-ahead for Windows, we are starting to see some movement internally that can help us understand how individual teams are being impacted.

I have heard from multiple sources that Microsoft is winding down app development of several of the included applications that ship with Windows 10 like stocks and weather. For the employees who were working on these applications, Microsoft is offering them positions on the Edge team.

In addition to app developers, there may be others who are being pushed towards the Edge platform and they are likely coming from RS5 enhancements that have now been canceled. Microsoft will continue to prioritize enterprise features over those of consumer going forward and this is one small step that they have taken to align with this agenda.

This not all bad news if you look at what recently happened with Office 365 business features being brought to the consumer SKUs, there is value in this approach for everyone.

What I don’t know is if this will impact the Mail and Calendar apps in Windows 10, those two apps have a higher priority because of their usage at this time. That being said, I’m still hoping we see Microsoft go all-in on PWAs and create an experience so that the web and desktop have the same UI and functionality.

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Comments (39)

39 responses to “Microsoft’s Pushing More Engineers to Edge”

  1. Yaggs

    I don't see any good reason to have built in apps for all these odd things (weather, stocks, etc) when they have a path forward with PWAs... no reason to write apps for things that are completely web based. I am hoping they make a big push forward with PWAs and make all Microsoft apps/services models for others to follow!

    This all makes a lot of sense. If we move toward a PWA model in the future Edge becomes more of a platform.. and that is evidenced by all the work Microsoft has done to bring Edge to iOS and Android, then Edge needs to be what MS is focused on to bring the best app experience to Windows.

    With all the nonsense the last few weeks about Windows demise, I think the moves they are making right now make TONS of sense.

  2. rmlounsbury

    I'm hoping this signals that Microsoft will de-crapify the start menu of the stub installers for store apps and drop apps like these from being preinstalled on Windows. Though Paul has a note in the article that he just posted today that it'll probably get worse.

  3. Siv

    My only concern with PWA's and the increasing use of browser based interfaces is that if anything happens to your browser so that it doesn't work properly, using the user interface becomes borked. At least with individual Win32 apps for Control panel and other system settings you could at least still interact with your system. Windows Server and Exchange Server now use a lot of browser based interfaces (it looks like a Win32 app but I am sure it's just the rendering engine from the browser in reality) and although I have not had many issues, it does worry me that things seem to be going that way.

  4. hrlngrv

    If the bundled Weather, News, Money etc were going to become PWAs, and Edge was MSFT's intended platform for PWAs, it'd make sense. Leave Calculator as the only true UWP app since it makes no sense for it not to run locally. (OK, Alarms & Clock too, though it may be the most pathetic bundled applet of all time.)

    As for Mail and Calendar, from an enterprise perspective, who uses them when most commercial Office 365 variants come with Outlook? Similarly, why should enterprises using commercial Office even consider an PWA?

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to hrlngrv: As for me, I hate Outlook. I mean the Office program. I used it for a LONG time on my home PCs and work. Starting with Windows 8 I switched to the Mail app and never looked back. Sadly, I'm still forced to use Outlook at work, and I hate it.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Rob_Wade:

        These days who doesn't need to use Outlook at work? I was using Lotus Notes until a few years ago, FWLIW. At home, I use Gmail in a browser window with no browser UI. Simpler for me to use multiple devices all running different OSes (especially desktop Linux) if I keep everything online.

  5. feek

    I'm honestly surprised these apps even had dedicated teams outside of the content curation? They haven't had meaningful updates since Win10 launched three years ago.

    I'm curious what these RS5 features that are being canceled are/were

  6. prettyconfusd

    Agreed with others here, it makes sense that a lot of these apps get moved to PWAs as time goes on - better to start now than later. And really, Edge needs all the support it can get with how important it is to MS going forward.

  7. scd147

    I'm okay with this, I'm one of the 7 people who use Edge daily. I'm also one of the 3 people who use it on my phone. I'm also the only person who uses it on a tablet. Go ME!!!! Maybe they can separate Edge from the rest of Windows, which I thought was the original reason behind building a new browser anyway. That and the legacy stuff.

    • bleeman

      In reply to scd147:

      I'm one of those 7 people who use Edge daily too. I also use it on my Galaxy Note 8, and you're not the only person who uses it on a tablet. I use it on my Galaxy S2 Nook.

  8. Daekar

    If you're ditching the built in apps nobody needs or wants, Edge is as good a place as any to put them. Edge development needs to accelerate, and MS needs to work on translating some of their existing apps to UWP and PWA.

  9. LuxuryTravelled would need to be able to handle multiple accounts in that sense, but I can see a PWA model working for it.

  10. trevor_chdwck

    This feels a lot like the changes made when deprecating Windows Phone...

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to trevor_chdwck: I actually think we're seeing the winding down of Windows completely.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Rob_Wade:

        Gaming, home office, hobbyist video editing and programming will still account for at least tens of million of PCs outside workplaces for at least another decade or two. PCs aren't going anywhere in cubicle farms unless they're replaced by a new spin on thin clients, and even then the applications running on servers but with I/O on terminals would be mostly what runs locally on PCs today. What's disappearing are home PCs which were used for things which used to be possible only on PCs but now are possible, perhaps better, on phones and tablets.

  11. skane2600

    I don't see how focusing on Edge has something to do with prioritizing enterprise features. I suspect that consumers are the primary users of Edge because many just use whatever browser is the default. In the enterprise, browser choice is usually made by more knowledgeable IT folks.

    BTW, there are non-consumer users who wouldn't really qualify as enterprise users either. For example, those who use Windows PCs to control lab equipment. A lot of traditional lab equipment (particularly at the low end) has been replaced with just a minimal board that connects to a PC.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      I don't see how focusing on Edge has something to do with prioritizing enterprise features. . . .

      Edge has a ways to go to catch up with IE for use on intranets. If MSFT wants to dump IE some day, Edge needs some work. I figure that's MSFT's goal.

      • skane2600

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I think the problem is that the kind of features enterprises keep IE around for are precisely the features that MIcrosoft created Edge to eliminate. Among non-IE browsers, Edge has no particular advantage.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to skane2600:

          Given what's running on lots of enterprise intranets, Edge isn't an option today. Does MSFT want to maintain IE indefinitely into the future while also developing Edge? Or would MSFT be thrilled to allow a 3rd party browser to become the enterprise choice?

          • skane2600

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Like many of Microsoft's recent developments, I think Edge was based on the idea that Windows was going to be viable on Windows Mobile. They could have just continued on with IE while improving its web standards compatibility or just continued to support a frozen older version that was compatible with legacy enterprise programs if the former option wasn't practical and continue to improve the "new" IE (it's funny to me that web folks were complaining about IE not following standards even at the time when it had over a 90% share - clearly a developer-centric priority over a business-centric one).

  12. TheJoeFin

    I hope this means Microsoft is focusing their product strategy. They have too many versions of their products. I'd be thrilled if they announced Edge beats Chrome at HTML5 compatibility and is the fastest browser and all the MSN products are now PWAs.

  13. Bats

    Believe me. Like, what I have been saying for the past couple of years, this is the way to go.

    If Microsoft just followed Google with PWAs (about) 2.5 years ago...OR...take the lead on this Windows Phone could've been saved. Like I said last year, alot of the mobile apps are nothing but isolated solo versions of their web counterpart. Therefore it makes sense to bring the web (Edge) from the desktop to Windows Phone and focus solely on that. But, noooooooooooo.....people disagreed with that, because Pope Paul Thurrott was leaning everyone towards the (new) traditional way that was set forth by Apple and Google. 

    Just a few minutes ago, using my Pixel 2 XL, I was on the website tvbythenumbers. The site prompted me whether I wanted to experience updates, every now and then. Not just that, there was some kind material design feature on that. 

    All in all, the web is not going to be the "new" OS of the future. IT ALREADY IS. It's been like that for (perhaps) the past 10 years. Google knew that and they built on it. Microsoft, again, is late to the party.  

    This new era of computing is great and it's going to be extremely interesting to see how Microsoft handles itself in it. They have never been in this position before. For so many years, it's been just them. They never got to play against GIANTS. They were kinda like Rocky (III), beating easier boxers, then came along Clubber Lang. The great thing, this war will never be won by anyone. It's going to be a neverending war that consumers will only win. 

    With Microsoft pushing Engineers to Edge tells me that the company (not the firm) is either finally getting it or finally coalescing their technologies together. LOL...this is just great. Stuff like this just makes Chrome and Firefox better. 

    This is exciting.

  14. jbinaz

    It'd be nice if they'd work on getting Edge separated from the OS so it can be updated more rapidly. I have zero clue on the technical limitations of doing that, but I feel like that a twice a year update is just way too slow.

  15. red.radar

    I can get on board with them making improvements and investment into their browser.

    Got to keep Chrome honest.

  16. mariusmuntensky

    I really do not know what they were working on, on these apps since nothing positive has changed for years...Now they are being pushed to Edge :))) MS is desperate with that browser that has a lower usage than even UC Browser :))))))))))))