According to reports, Microsoft’s Edge browser is stealthily installing the company’s Office web applications on Windows 10 PCs, or at least those used by Windows insiders testing preview builds of the operating system.
Typically, the Office web applications (free PWAs or Progressive Web Apps) can be installed in your browser (e.g. Edge or competitors like Chrome) and users who are signed in to a Microsoft account can use them. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook are available as PWAs.
However, as Windows Latest reports, at least some testers using preview versions of Windows 1
The theory is that Microsoft Edge is able to visit these PWAs on test PCs because these apps are listed as installed applications under Edge settings. Similar to the way Google Docs, Google Sheets and Slides are listed as installed apps on Chrome – and are actually installed automatically for users of that browser.
It is of course possible to remove the Office web applications from your computer and you can uninstall them through Programs and Features in the Control Panel. Likewise, you can remove the G Suite apps in Chrome, but either way you’ll disable yourself instead of choosing. The latter is currently the case with Microsoft apps.
Assuming the report is on the money, this is a sneaky change from Microsoft, even if it’s no different from what its big rival, Google, is up to. Although we have to underline this now, the new scheme of things with the Office PWAs is currently being tested by Microsoft and may never see the light of day when it comes to the release versions of Windows 10 or Edge.
As always with experimental and researched changes, we just have to wait and see if they materialize. In the meantime, we’ve contacted Microsoft and asked for a comment on what’s going on with Windows 10. We’ll update this story with each answer.
Microsoft Edge has generally been received pretty well, although the company took the risk of annoying people with its many different efforts to promote the web browser.