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In case there was any doubt about using legacy Edge, Microsoft 365 throws its weight behind WebView2
New dependencies will rely on runtime from March
The death march of legacy Edge and Internet Explorer 11 continued today with an addition to the Microsoft 365 roadmap warning that new features would likely rely on WebView2.
WebView2 is the Chromium-based update of Microsoft's WebView control, which was used to show web content in Windows Forms or WPF desktop applications.
If not already installed, the runtime will hit on 8 March. On 9 March support will end for Microsoft Edge "Legacy" and April's Patch Tuesday, due on the 13th, will strip the browser from the operating system and pop a Chromium Edge icon into the OS instead.
Although Microsoft 365's new features may rely on the WebView2 Runtime, the old EdgeHTML rendering engine that sat behind the original WebView isn't going anywhere, and will continue to be supported.
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Handy because (at Microsoft's urging) a number of developers opted to make use of the WebView control for Windows 10 apps, ditching Internet Explorer's WebBrowser control. The roadmap has since changed once again and WebView2 is all the rage in Redmond.
As for Internet Explorer, Microsoft is desperate that customers stop using it and switch to an alternative browser. It also added an "Internet Explorer" mode to Chromium Edge for enterprises stuck with that one legacy website that could not do without it. Bits of Microsoft 365, such as Teams, stopped working on the venerable browser back in 2020 and the remaining Microsoft 365 support is to be pulled by 17 August.
Version 2101 of the Microsoft 365 apps (the Current Channel, which was released on 9 February) running on Windows are affected. Other channels with older versions, such as the Semi-Annual Enterprise, are not impacted as yet.
While those who allowed Windows 10 20H2 onto their PC already have Chromium Edge installed, Microsoft 365 users still clinging to the past seem likely to get the guts of the new browser in the form of the WebView2 control next month ahead of Legacy Edge's final demise in April. ®