Microsoft Edge is being forced on people once again, this time through Outlook and Teams
Microsoft will bypass your default browser settings in certain situations.
What you need to know
- Microsoft Teams and Outlook will soon open links from Azure Active Directory accounts and Microsoft accounts in Edge by default, regardless of what your default browser settings.
- Affected links will open in a side-by-side view with the email on one side and the opened webpage on the other.
- The move has drawn criticism from many on Reddit and on the web.
Microsoft will change the default experience for opening certain links within Outlook and Teams. Soon, links from Azure Active Directory (AAD) accounts and Microsoft (MSA) accounts will open in Edge by default (via The Verge). This will occur even if your default browser is set to Chrome, Firefox, or any other non-Edge browser. Opened links will appear in a single view that shows the source email and the opened webpage side-by-side.
A Reddit post by palanerspezi shared a screenshot from the Microsoft 365 Message Center. That message explains the change and when it will roll out. Outlook for Windows will change how it opens links over the next 30 days from the initial message (sent April 29, 2023). Teams will make the same change "at a future date" following another message.
The change does not affect your system's default browser settings. It simply bypasses them when opening certain links in specific situations.
It will be possible to revert the behavior, according to Microsoft:
"To open web links from the Outlook for Windows app using the system default browser (current default behavior): Enable the policy and select 'system default browser' from the policy options."
The company notes that users will not be able to disable or change the setting, so IT admins will have to step in.
Windows Central take
It's clear that the folks at Microsoft will continue doing things like this until someone stops them. The tech giant has pushed Edge through widgets on Windows 11 as well as search. While Windows 11 has default browser settings, Microsoft chooses to ignore them when it sees fit. The company does it in the name of what it claims is a better overall experience, but that doesn't change the fact that the company is ignoring user choices.
Microsoft shared a blog post titled "A principled approach to app pinning and app defaults in Windows" in March of this year. In it, the company committed to the following (emphasis added):
- We will ensure people who use Windows are in control of changes to their pins and their defaults.
- We will provide a common supported way for application developers to offer the ability to make their app the default or pin their app to the taskbar. This will provide users a consistent experience across all apps.
- Microsoft apps will use the same common supported methods for pinning and defaults.
I guess that blog post wasn't sent throughout the entire company.
EdgeDeflector once worked around Microsoft's tactics by intercepting links and opening them in your default browser of choice. Microsoft blocked EdgeDeflector, however back in November 2021.
Google Chrome once had a button that let you set the browser as your default on Windows with a single click. That reportedly had to be disabled after a change Microsoft made through a Windows update in April 2023 (via Gizmodo).
I understand that Microsoft wants people to use Edge. I have four versions of the browser installed on my PC and use Edge as my daily browser. But ignoring default browser settings isn't the way to convert people, at least not if you respect people's choices and value user experience.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.
Sean EndicottI hate when Microsoft does stuff like this. It just flings me back to the days of the company abusing its monopoly. I'm okay with Microsoft promoting Edge, but it needs to respect default browser choices, not bypass them when it feels like it.Reply
jasqidI started noticing this with Outlook "Try the New Outlook". Currently if you click the To-Do icon in outlook it will open the app. But when in the new look, clicking it opens ToDo in edge. WTF. Thought it was a beta thing.Reply