Microsoft wants to force Windows 10 Mail users to use Edge for email links

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft is testing a new change to its future version of Windows 10 which will probably annoy anyone using the operating system. The software giant revealed today that “we will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge.” The change means if you have Chrome or Firefox set as your default browser in Windows 10, Microsoft will simply ignore that and force you into Edge when you click a link within the Mail app.

It’s a ridiculous change, that’s similar to Microsoft forcing Cortana users to use Bing search and open results in the Microsoft Edge browser instead of other browsers that are set as default. “As always, we look forward to feedback from our WIP community,” says Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar in a blog post today. I’m sure Microsoft will receive a lot of feedback over this unnecessary change, and we can only hope the company doesn’t ignore it.

Microsoft has been desperately trying to convince Windows 10 users to switch from Chrome to Edge. The software maker has made it difficult to switch the default browser in Windows 10, created videos to trash Google’s Chrome battery life claims, and even used a variety of annoying ads within Windows 10 itself to try and promote Edge. None of these efforts have worked, though. Chrome is still the top browser on desktop PCs.

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A desperate move to grab browser share

Does anyone actually use the Mail app on Windows 10?

I use the Outlook account using the Mail App on windows 10.

I do too… and the default browser on windows is IE or Edge.. it has never stopped me from choosing another browser as a default. I dont see WHERE the information of MS forcing people to ONLY use Edge but only that it will only be a default.
Does the Verge run towards stupidity like a sheep over a cliff? Or do the stupid people who listen to the Verge run over the cliff because the Verge tells them to?

Did you even read the article/linked blog post?

My mom does!

And my Axe!

. You must have disowned her.

I do. For my personal / home use, I don’t want all the features of Outlook 2016, and having the native app is faster than the browser.

I do. I also use the default mail app in iOS.

It’s an average app at best. Does the job for quick emails. The most egregious oversight is when your First Name – Last Name cannot be visible to recipients if you use a custom domain name (i.e. they see FROM: email@domain.com)

I use it. I have my Exchange account loaded in the Mail app and in Outlook 2k16.

I tend to use the mail app most of the time because the majority of what I do with mail is pretty simple. Read email, reply, mark done (Archive). Even with the UI trimmed as much as possible (sidebars hidden, ribbon minimized, headers collapsed) Outlook is still a very busy looking program. I like the native mail app for its simpler, more distraction free UI.

Also, once you setup your account in the native mail app, your calendar and contacts also get set up in the native apps. While this might not matter to some because the native apps are so basic – it does give you some decent OS level features. Stuff like upcoming calendar appointments when you expand the clock, or having apps that can read the native windows contact store display your exchange contacts. Also, I prefer the Win 10 contact app over the contact pane in Outlook.

I use the default Mail app on Windows 10. It’s simple and lightweight for most consumer mail needs.

Tom I think your overall judgement on this announcement is misinterpreted. I think Dona Sarkar meant the Mail client app would begin opening web links within the new tabbed experience (which is essentially Edge) instead of outside browsers. The ‘Sets’ feature uses the Edge browser to create a tabbed experience, no? This is the only way I can see the app circumventing your default browser settings. You even wrote a piece on this not too long ago Tom.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/28/16709190/microsoft-windows-10-tabs-file-explorer-sets-feature

Thank you for this link. Clearly, this is the implementation for the tabbed sets feature. I’m going to work on the assumption that users will be able to disable sets in Windows 10 so that it will use their default browser setting in a windowed mode. It’s basically a new UI paradigm that uses Edge as an extension to Windows 10 apps. It is similar to existing webview implementations in all major platforms. If you are using the Mail app, it is already using Edge rendering to view web content in an email.

It might be possible to use a third party browser with sets but for now, Chrome and Firefox refuse to use Edge rendering through UWP APIs. Chrome uses Apple’s Webkit in iOS, Firefox and Edge use Blink and Webkit in Android and iOS. Why won’t Chrome and Firefox use Edge rendering through UWP APIs? It’s a legacy turf war that doesn’t make sense on a modern platform.

Tom,

Don’t you think it would be good if your article pointed out that this only affects those in the Windows Insider Program and also those in the Skip Ahead version of that program as well? "Testing a change" doesn’t really tell the whole story and certainly doesn’t let people know that this is something that is only available to a very small set of users that have opted in to try new features out.

I use it. I used to use Outlook, but that app has so many features, I just need basic mail. It’s a PITA for multiple accounts, but it does work.

Normal people use Mail.

I do. It handles my 6 different email accounts and does it rather well.

I actually use Mail with a Gmail account. Simple and fast. If they make this change, I will stop using it.

My problems with Edge:

  • Can’t right-click selected text to search with Google. The Ask Cortana thing is dumb and useless.
  • Can’t change the tab right-click context menu to add a "New Tab" option like Chrome. I use that 50 times per day. Not having it is a non-starter.

If they want to extend these problems with Edge to their other apps, they can go right ahead. I won’t use those either.

I’m astonished Edge can’t do those two actions. In IE11, you can basically do both those things. You can right-click selected text to search with your default search engine (Google, Bing, Ecosia, whatever you set) or download an accelerator for specific search engines. When I right-click on a tab in IE11, I can click "New tab" to get a new tab next to the existing tab. I’m pretty surprised Edge still lacks some basic actions that I assume all desktop browsers would have.

Can’t right-click selected text to search with Google. The Ask Cortana thing is dumb and useless.

This. I switched to Chrome because of this.

I do! It’s completely fine. Basic, but works like a charm.

Yep, on my Dell tablet I do. Works well.

(Thunderbird on the desktop)

I only use it for Mail notifications on my Outlook and Gmail accounts, I use the web app instead bc the app is buggy as hell on formatting and rendering emails, it relies on Edge Engine so what can you expect?!

I do. I like it a lot. I use it with Gmail and Outlook accounts.

I like it but only for the notifications. For some reason, the notifications from Gmail in Chrome don’t last – they just go away when the notification goes away.

If Chrome had a notification centre or added them to the Windows notification centre, it’d be so much better.

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