Microsoft Weekly: Browser Wars, Office Redesign and Windows Ugly Sweater


We’re at the end of a new week, which means it’s time to recap what’s been going on in the world of Microsoft over the past few days. This week has been pretty hectic, especially if you’re interested in the news related to Microsoft Edge, Windows 11 releases, and a festive Windows Ugly Sweater. Read on for the weekly recap for the week of November 28 – December 3.

Navigator wars

Microsoft Edge Chromium logo on new tab screenshots

If you were wondering if you’ve been traveling in the early 2000s this week, especially when it comes to your browser choice, that would be understandable. Microsoft has gone a bit on the offensive this week by showing native prompts to consumers when they attempt to download Google Chrome through Microsoft Edge.

These prompts refer to Chrome as an “so 2008” browser and indicate that users should stick with Edge because it is apparently more trustworthy. Although the messages displayed by Microsoft are very casual and light, many of our readers as well as other people on social media forums wondering if the business is too desperate.

When it comes to allowing users to change the default browser in Windows 11 itself, Microsoft seems to be testing a simpler process with build 22509 in the development channel.

Users can now use a single button to simultaneously change the default browser for some extensions. This is in stark contrast to the current generally available method where you have to thoroughly change the default browser for each extension. It’s not a massive improvement, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. That said, we don’t know when, or if, this change will be made available to the general public.

In related news, Canary Edge also got some decent features this week. Tab search is now turned on by default, and those who use Xbox Cloud Gaming will be happy to know that they can try out a new feature called Clarity Boost during their streaming sessions. As the name suggests, this visually enhances some aspects of the gaming streaming experience and is only available on Edge Canary at this time.

Teams are essential

A screenshot of a Microsoft Teams video call

Microsoft has launched a new offering for small businesses that use Teams for online collaboration and communication. Dubbed Teams Essentials, this allows the target audience to use a more feature-rich variant of Teams than the free version with features like meeting times of up to 30 hours, 10GB of cloud storage, and the ability to accommodate 300 people in a called group. Priced at $ 4 per user per month, Microsoft calls Teams Essentials the “most affordable all-in-one solution,” but on paper it looks like a tough sell compared to Microsoft 365 Business Basic which offers features. and even more advanced software at a cost of $ 5 per user per month.

However, that is not all in the world of Microsoft Office offerings. The company has started rolling out the visual redesign of Office to more users. As it stands, the redesign is available for 50% of current channel users on Windows 10 and for everyone on Windows 11. It makes some minor UI changes like Fluent Design and Dark Mode, but Microsoft plans to activate other elements like the Mica background effect soon. You can trigger this redesign by clicking the megaphone icon in the upper right corner of your Office app’s title bar, and then turning on the toggle in the Coming Soon pane. The same toggle can also be used to revert to the existing user interface.

Finally, if you use OneDrive on the web to manage photos, you’ll be happy to know that the ability to add filters is now available. Another feature that will arrive later this month is the ability to annotate and tag photos.

Windows Ugly Sweater and Windows 11 Improvements

Image of ugly Windows minesweeper themed sweater

If you’re a fan of Microsoft-branded products, you should probably take a look at this year’s Windows Ugly Sweater. Clothing is based on Minesweeper and costs $ 74.99, excluding shipping. As part of this holiday celebration, Microsoft is also pledging $ 100,000 to AbleGamers – a charity dedicated to fighting social isolation, fostering inclusive communities and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

In other news, Windows 11 insiders on the dev channel were treated to build 22509. This is a relatively important update that fixes some issues with the Start menu and taskbar. New layout options have been added to the first while the ability to display date and time on secondary monitors has been added to the second. Other changes also include the migration of more Control Panel features to the Settings app and tons of other bug fixes. Check out the full changelog here.

Paint on the Windows 11 development channel has also received an update. It brings some UI elements more in line with the OS design language and also fixes issues with text boxes, languages, etc.

In the news related to Windows 11, data from the AdDuplex survey show that the OS is now present on 9% of PCs. This is a significant increase from the 5.1% figure reported in October. That said, if you’re using Windows 11 and you’re not happy with some of the changes, check out ThisIsWin11 which has plenty of customization utilities.

Development channel

electric toys

Under the projectors

Windows 10 update screen composition

This week, I argued that Windows Update should show more information about the default fixes. As it stands, users are forced to find Microsoft’s Knowledge Base articles and changelogs, or rely on third-party news outlets like Neowin to find out what’s new with each update. day. This information must be integrated natively – but still optional to display – in Windows. Check out my thoughts on the subject here.

Windows 11 screenshot of the leaked version and logo

We also discussed the top 10 changes people are asking for Windows 11 on the Feedback Hub. Most are related to the taskbar and start menu, but one of them also asks to remove the TPM requirement. We have also described Microsoft’s responses to all comment items. It’s definitely an interesting list and you should check it out here.


A Tesla whistle

Our most interesting news of the week is not related to Microsoft but is certainly worth highlighting. Eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk apparently took a sheet of Apple’s book and advertised a $ 50 “Cyberwhistle”. The collector’s item is made of stainless steel and its design is inspired by Tesla’s Cybertruck. The Cyberwhistle sold out a few hours after Musk’s Twitter reveal, but you can still check out the dedicated product page here.

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