Microsoft is planning to make web links in Microsoft Outlook and Teams to open by default in its Edge browser. The company is giving IT admins a 30 days notice that this change will be gradually rolled out in Outlook for Windows for all business customers.
Microsoft first announced the web link behavior change for consumers with Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscriptions in February 2023. The company claimed that it should make it easier for users to stay focused on important tasks. It should also eliminate the need to switch between different applications.
Now, Microsoft is getting ready to roll out the behavior change to commercial customers with Azure Active Directory (AAD) and Microsoft (MSA) accounts. Microsoft says that the Outlook desktop client will open web links in Microsoft Edge’s sidebar by default. This means that the app will completely ignore the default browser selected in Windows Settings. Microsoft has already rolled out similar changes that impact the search experience and widgets in Windows 11.
“Web links from emails in the Outlook for Windows app will open side-by-side with the email in Microsoft Edge so users can easily reference the link and email without switching back and forth between apps. The email will open in the Outlook app in the Edge sidebar. Links will open in Microsoft Edge even if it is not the system default browser in Windows,” the company explained on the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Going forwards, Microsoft plans to roll out the new default behavior for links in Microsoft Teams. The company explained that web links shared in Teams chats messages will open in Microsoft Edge, though there is no ETA yet. Meanwhile, Microsoft confirmed that similar changes will also arrive in Outlook for iOS and Android in the coming weeks.
Apparently, the recent announcement has generated a significant amount of criticism from IT administrators. “This has been going on for some time now with Outlook on Android. It completely bypasses the default browser setting and opens all links in Edge. It’s annoying.” an IT admin wrote on Reddit.
Microsoft advises IT admins to configure policies to manage the change for Microsoft 365 Apps. However, customers with a Microsoft 365 Business plan will need to control the settings on individual client machines. Do you think that this change would cause unnecessary headaches for thousands of small businesses with IT resources and budget restrictions? Let us know in the comments section below.