Windows 10 Stocks, Weather, and other apps may retire in favor of web versions

Microsoft may be moving to discontinue several first-party apps installed in Windows 10 that aren’t a major priority. Unnamed sources indicate that the company is now shifting internal developers away from the likes of Windows 10’s Stocks and Weather apps to focus on Microsoft Edge. Microsoft is also grabbing employees that previously worked on now-canceled Redstone 5 enhancements to provide them with positions on the Edge browser team. 

The news arrives after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella distributed an email to employees in March that outlined a restructuring within the company. Rajesh Jha now leads a new engineering team focused on Experiences and Devices while Scott Guthrie leads a new team focused on Cloud and Artificial Intelligence. Harry Shum continues to lead the company’s third team dealing with Artificial Intelligence and Research. 

So far, there’s no indication that Microsoft will shift away from its built-in Windows 10 Mail and Calendar apps as well. But complaints recently emerged on Reddit regarding Office 365 advertisements in the Mail app. The company could end up ditching these apps in order to better unify its Office 365 and web-based services, such as Outlook.com. 

Just last week, Microsoft announced its intentions to bring enterprise-grade Office 365 capabilities to its mainstream subscription. These new features include Files Restore pulled from OneDrive for Business, ransomware detection and recovery, password-protected sharing links, email encryption, and means for restricting email recipients from forwarding or copying emails you send from Outlook.com. 

“Starting later this year, links you click in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will also be checked in real time to determine if the destination website is likely to download malware onto your computer or if it’s related to a phishing scam,” the company says. “If the link is suspicious, you will be redirected to a warning screen recommending you don’t access the site.” 

Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft made available two programs for checking email: Outlook in its Office suite, and Outlook Express for those who didn’t purchase Microsoft’s software. The latter, free solution bundled with the likes of Windows 98, Windows XP, and so on was lightweight – much like the current Mail app – while Outlook provided a more robust library of features. 

Presently, Windows 10 customers face a similar scenario: a local lightweight Mail app, a fuller Outlook desktop application in Office 365, and on online version of Outlook if you don’t want to install the desktop client. The company may be working to unify all three in some fashion, pulling developers from non-essential Windows 10 apps to revamp the web-based Outlook client in Microsoft Edge. 

Meanwhile, by default, Microsoft’s baked-in browser already provides weather and stock information on the home page if users have new tabs set as “top sites and suggested content.” Microsoft may deem the related Windows 10 apps as unnecessary at this point, and Windows 10 usage statistics may even show that customers simply aren’t accessing these apps. 

Joe Belfiore, who is part of Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices team, is expected to talk more about how Windows 10 and Office 365 will connect “more deeply” during the BUILD developers conference starting May 7, 2018. 

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