Microsoft halts Edge browser updates in light of coronavirus pandemic

The Redmond company follows in the footsteps of Google with shelved updates

New Microsoft Edge logo on a computer screen

Microsoft will pause the release of major updates to its Edge web browser due to the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The announcement sees Microsoft following in the footsteps of Google, which recently announced that it had halted all work on new Chrome and Chrome OS releases, with version 82 of Chrome set to be binned completely.

Google’s reasoning was that it felt releasing updates could put system administrators who are newly working from home under added stress.

Microsoft has given similar a similar rationale, with Kyle Pflug from the Microsoft Edge team explaining in a blog post: “In light of current global circumstances, the Microsoft Edge team is pausing updates to the Stable channel for Microsoft Edge. This means that Microsoft Edge 81 will not be promoted to Stable until we resume these updates. 

“We are making this change to be consistent with the Chromium project, which recently announced a similar pause due to adjusted schedules, and out of a desire to minimize additional impact to web developers and organizations that are similarly impacted. 

“We will continue to deliver security and stability updates to Microsoft Edge 80. Preview channels (Canary, Dev, and Beta) will continue to update on their usual schedule.”

Microsoft didn’t say when its updates to Edge would resume, but the announcement likely means that the release of Edge 81, which was due to bring a “substantial performance improvement” to the Chromium-based web browser, is likely some way off. 

Mozilla has not yet confirmed whether it will maintain its four-week schedule of upgrading Firefox.

In addition to pausing new Edge updates, Microsoft is also delaying the end of support of certain editions of the Windows 10 version 1709 by six months. 

“To ease one of the many burdens you are currently facing, and based on customer feedback, we have decided to delay the scheduled end of service date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10, version 1709,” Microsoft said.

However, there's no mention of extended support for Home and Pro editions of the operating system.

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