Microsoft Clarifies How It Will Update Edge With The Windows Store

Posted on October 6, 2016 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 25 Comments

Living on the (Microsoft) Edge

When Microsoft released Edge, they stated that it was a universal app and that it could be serviced through the Windows store. Up until now, the company has not used this mechanism to update the browser and has instead opted to update it via Windows update.

With each major release of Windows 10, the company has added new features to the browser like extensions but these releases are, at best, occurring twice a year and more recently, only once per year. The problem is that browsers like Chrome and Firefox are updated frequently but Edge has been stuck, with only a couple of small exceptions, to major Windows releases to get new features.

At a session at Ignite lead by Fred Pullen, responsible for marketing Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer to commercial customers, he clarified how Edge will be updated in the near future.

At about the 13-minute mark, Pullen states that Edge app, which includes navigation controls, reading view and other similar features will eventually get updated through the store but the engine of Edge will always be updated with Windows Update. The reason for the engine being updated through Windows Update is because that feature powers other universal apps and will require additionally testing to make sure the changes do not impact other parts of the operating system.

What this means is that, when Microsoft does finally enable the ability to update via the Windows Store, it allows the company to deliver features to the browser at a much faster cadence. This should help Edge iterate faster and be able to maintain an update cadence that is similar to Chrome and Firefox for end-user features.

Of course, the question remains about when this functionality will be enabled. Pullen does not give a date but makes it clear that the Edge team is working towards this goal and with the next Windows 10 update targeted for next spring, that’s the best guess at when this functionality will be delivered. Considering that Edge has only 5% of the market, according to Net Applications, while Windows 10 has over 20% of the desktop market, Microsoft needs to iterate faster with its new browser to keep users from switching to Chrome (or other browsers).

Thanks for the tip Win10fan

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Microsoft Clarifies How It Will Update Edge With The Windows Store”

  1. 442

    I hate the "about:flags" thing needed in the address bar to get to features.  Just put it in the options under advanced.  I hate it in Chrome too.  Is this OS not a GUI?  (/soapbox)

  2. 2233

    They missed the boat with Edge.  Should have stayed with IE until Edge was really ready and then launched it.  Whoever came up with the idea that we can launch something new that isn't feature complete with other browsers was insane.  You can only make one first impression.

    It would almost be smarter to relaunch/rebrand Edge as something else when they get this sorted out.

  3. 229

    Fast cadence and Microsoft are mutually exclusive :).

  4. 1377

    Keep the 1 out of 4 Windows 10 users from switching to other browsers? Other than IE, that is, since enterprises running older browser-based systems on their intranets have to use IE rather than Edge.

    Very cynical: is 1/4 of Windows 10 users about the proportion of Windows 10 users who don't actually realize they're using Windows 10 and would be either too scared or too indifferent to changing defaults or installing alternatives that they just use Edge because it's the default?

  5. 5530

    This is already a doomed strategy. Who the frick thought it was a good idea to keep the browser components seperate like that? I'm calling this right now: A year from now, Microsoft will realize that this isn't working, and will set Edge back even further by spending 2 years trying to untie the rendering engine from the rest of the that it can be updated faster. But of course, that'll be already too late and then they'll realize their marketshare is going nowhere and they'll do yet another "strategy pivot", by targeting Edge for the enterprise :)

    I don't think Microsoft gets it, and I don't think the Edge team understands that it is new HTML features landing in the end-users that gets web developers excited.

  6. 265

    It's Microsoft so everyone's always going to be howling when the updates don't come fast and flawlessly.  Yet the rival browsers run down faster than Buster Keaton in "Seven Chances".  While I'm awaiting for Edge on my work desktops I have to bounce from IE, to Chrome and Firefox, none of which can keep ahead of the chaff.  Edge on my Windows 10 Fast Ring desktops and laptops is my preference by a wide margin.  It just is such a slo train comin, though, and it only works on W10M if you keep the font at its miniture default.  

  7. 6168

    The difference now is, the PM of Edge "resigned", and a large part of the team was recycled. (Or so the rumours say.) So Hopefully, things are changing.

  8. 186

    Yes, they need to update Edge much much faster. It is sitll very buggy. On multiple computers, Edge will, when started will start with previous tabs.   I don't have this set to do this. It's very very aggrevating!

  9. 6155

    The main features I'm interested in as a web developer are updates to the rendering engine to support web standards.

    It sounds like those features are only updated with Windows Update. If true, that's lame.

    • 5529

      In reply to frank_costanza:

      This is in fact my major issue with this. Microsoft has been advertising the "features" they are putting into Edge, such as WebAssembly, but at this update cycle, Edge is only competing with Safari, which also gets updated once a year. And that is on a different platform. 

      While it is true that the Edge GUI needs some love and care to make it as polished as others, but the core is what adds features. Unless they plan to offer features as extensions that are not user visible.

  10. 130

    Why would they build the engine in to the OS from the start... Seems backwards to me. It's seems to be out of the question to move it out from the OS as well. Would like to know what  reason they have for building it into this less modular software. 

    • 1959

      In reply to Nischi:

      I can see the need for the engine to be separate from the app itself. Since the engine can be integrated in to other apps, it makes sense not to need to call on the full app, with all of its superfluous components, when all you need is the rendering engine.

  11. 2371

    I understand why the rendering engine is updated separately.  Because in reality Edge is just another UWP that used the rendering engine; it is a shared resource provided by the OS.  That makes me think they should still be able to update the rendering engine more frequently than the the OS using Windows Update however.

    The part the really bothers me is that the limited updates they have been able to make so far has not delivered a lot of funcationality that poeple want.  This is way to slow of development; more functionality should be in each release and the result should be the same about of changes delivered each year whether there is 1 release or 20 releases.  So Microsofts excuse for slow delivery has nothing to do with update method used.

    Actually, 20 releases in a year means they have 20 versions that need to be compatible with different OS versions and security fixes and that should slow down delivery of new functionality.  Microsoft needs to stop with the excuses and put the proper resources behind Edge.  Windows 10 Mobile as well for that matter!

    • 5949

      In reply to RM:

      Honestly, keep in mind that since Edge's launch, it has only been a year. Considering that, the changes they've brought up in Edge 13 and 14 are big. A lot of things changed in these versions, plenty of which where much requested by users (pinned tabs, extensions, the update hub, etc.).

  12. 127

    Ah, the promise of UWP apps delivered! After all, what is a year-and-a-half late between friends!?

  13. 5486

    Bound to fail. Updating a single app through two different mechanisms. What could go wrong? At best, this means Edge core will only be updated 1-2 times a year, still way, way behind Chrome and Firefox. The most amusing bit was Microsoft mentioning the words 'Windows' and 'testing' in the same sentence. Now that's funny.

  14. 1775

    I use Edge foe one reason, the Reader.  If that wasn't there, I'd be using Chrome with a reader extension.

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