Microsoft Edge is a good browser but for some reason Microsoft keeps trying to shove it down everyone’s throat and make it more difficult to use rivals like Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft has now started notifying IT admins that it will force Outlook and Teams to ignore the default web browser on Windows and open links in Microsoft Edge instead.
Reddit users have posted messages from the Microsoft 365 admin center that reveal how Microsoft is going to roll out this change. “Web links from Azure Active Directory (AAD) accounts and Microsoft (MSA) accounts in the Outlook for Windows app will open in Microsoft Edge in a single view showing the opened link side-by-side with the email it came from,” reads a message to IT admins from Microsoft.
While this won’t affect the default browser setting in Windows, it’s yet another part of Microsoft 365 and Windows that totally ignores your default browser choice for links. Microsoft already does this with the Widgets system in Windows 11 and even the search experience, where you’ll be forced into Edge if you click a link even if you have another browser set as default.
IT admins aren’t happy with many complaining in various threads on Reddit, spotted by Neowin. If Outlook wasn’t enough, Microsoft says “a similar experience will arrive in Teams” soon with web links from chats opening in Microsoft Edge side-by-side with Teams chats. Microsoft seems to be rolling this out gradually across Microsoft 365 users, and IT admins get 30 days notice before it rolls out to Outlook.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise IT admins will be able to alter the policy, but those on Microsoft 365 for business will have to manage this change on individual machines. That’s going to leave a lot of small businesses with the unnecessary headache of working out what has changed. Imagine being less tech savvy, clicking a link in Outlook, and thinking you’ve lost all your favorites because it didn’t open in your usual browser.
The notifications to IT admins come just weeks after Microsoft promised significant changes to the way Windows manages which apps open certain files or links by default. At the time Microsoft said it believed “we have a responsibility to ensure user choices are respected” and that it’s “important that we lead by example with our own first party Microsoft products.” Forcing people into Microsoft Edge and ignoring default browsers is anything but respecting user choice, and it’s gross that Microsoft continues to abuse this.
Windows 11 also launched with a messy and cumbersome process to set default apps, which was a step back from Windows 10 and drew concern from competing browser makers like Mozilla, Opera, and Vivaldi. A Windows 11 update has improved that process, but it’s clear Microsoft is still interested in finding ways to circumvent default browser choices.