Microsoft is preparing an update for its web browser Edge that will help develop new synergies across its product suite.
As per new (opens in new tab) entries (opens in new tab) in the Microsoft 365 product roadmap, users of the productivity suite will soon benefit from the ability to access both their Outlook email inbox and Office documents via a dedicated sidebar within Edge.
Due to roll out next month, the update is designed to limit the need for workers to switch continuously between windows when performing tasks, with all the necessary tools housed within the browser instead.
Microsoft Edge: the browser for business?
Although Microsoft Edge enjoyed a period of rapid growth after its relaunch back in 2020, the browser continues to lag behind Chrome and Safari, both of which enjoy a far greater market share, the latest figures (opens in new tab) show.
Despite a consistent stream of feature updates, renewed marketing efforts and the integration of Edge into the company’s new Windows 11 operating system, Microsoft has struggled to move the needle in any significant way.
The software giant has also scored a number of own goals that are unlikely to have ingratiated Microsoft Edge with potential new users.
For instance, Microsoft was recently forced to walk back a policy that added an unreasonable amount of friction to the process of changing the default browser in Windows 11 after users made their displeasure known.
Microsoft also came under fire for efforts to block links opened via its own services (e.g. Windows 11 widgets, the Start Menu etc.) from launching in any other browser but Edge, another tactic that drew criticism from the community.
But the upcoming update hints at a change in approach; the company is now seeking to lean on the popularity of services like Outlook and other elements of the Microsoft 365 suite to incentivize a switch to Edge, a subtler tactic less likely to draw the ire of the community.
Microsoft has also targeted improvements from a performance and security perspective, which business users in particular are bound to appreciate. In recent months, for example, the company has bolstered the in-built password manager, rolled out an integrated VPN service and deployed new tricks to improve browsing speeds.
If Microsoft Edge is to compete head-to-head with the market leaders, the team will need to stake a claim to a particular niche or use case. In the business market, perhaps it has found one.