Microsoft now forces you to install its internet browser to access Outlook

In a controversial move, Microsoft has introduced a new requirement for Outlook users on Windows 10 and 11 – they must have the Edge web browser installed to access the email client.

Reports have surfaced that Microsoft is mandating Edge be present on Windows machines to properly run the latest version of Outlook. Upon opening Outlook, affected users are met with an error message reading “The new Outlook for Windows needs Microsoft Edge to be installed.”

The root of the issue seems to be Outlook’s integration of Edge WebView 2, a framework allowing web content to be displayed within apps. While Edge comes pre-installed on Windows 10 and 11 devices, some users opted to uninstall it as bloatware. They will now have to redownload Edge to use Outlook.

Requiring installation of its own web browser has struck controversy among portions of the Outlook userbase. Some view it as an underhanded tactic by Microsoft to boost Edge’s declining market share in the browser wars. However, the full intent behind the policy remains unclear.

Microsoft has yet to publicly acknowledge or explain the new dependency. It’s unknown if this was an intentional ploy to push Edge adoption or merely an unforeseen technical constraint.

Nonetheless, Outlook users on Windows must now factor in Microsoft Edge as part of the email client experience. Time will tell whether Microsoft expands this browser integration to other apps or services. For now, affected Outlook users have no choice but to install Edge if they wish to access their emails.