Microsoft explains Edge's low extensions count

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 2, 2017
Internet, Microsoft Edge

Microsoft launched extension support in Windows 10's default system browser Microsoft Edge back in 2016 with the release of the Anniversary Update of Windows 10.

The new version of Edge launched with support for just a handful of extensions, and things did not speed up at all over the course of the year.

It was not clear why there were so few extensions available for Microsoft Edge. Was it because of a lack of developer interest? Because of Microsoft limiting what is released for the browser?

We asked you back then if you would give Edge a change if it would support your favorite extensions. Some said yes, others no, but many also said that they would at least try Edge in that case.

Microsoft's Edge team revealed in a blog post on the official Microsoft Edge Development blog why there are not that many extensions for Edge available.

The first reason that Microsoft gives is that Edge's extension system was -- and still is -- a work in progress. Microsoft improved the extension system of the Edge browser in the past year that extension developers can utilize to create extensions for the browser.

Before we could enable a wider ecosystem of extensions for our customers, we needed to improve the capabilities of our extensions platform to allow new categories of extensions and more features for existing extensions.

Microsoft maintains an extension API roadmap that lists supported and "under consideration" APIs.

More important than that is the second reason that the Edge team gives. According to the information, requirements exist for extensions that limit which extensions become available to users of Microsoft Edge.

We have taken a purposefully metered approach as we onboard new extensions. Extensions are one of the most substantial features in a new browser, and we have a high bar for quality. Because extensions interact so closely with the browser, we have been very attuned to the security, performance, and reliability of Microsoft Edge with these extensions enabled.

We are extremely sensitive to the potential impact of extensions on your browsing experience and want to make sure that the extensions we do allow are high-quality and trustworthy.

Poorly written or even malicious add-ons for browsers remain a potential source of privacy, security, reliability and performance issues, even today. We want users to be confident that they can trust extensions in Microsoft to operate as expected.

In short: Microsoft accepts extensions only if they meet certain requirements in regards to security, performance and reliability. In other words, if an extension falls short in one of the areas, for instance if it impacts performance too much or causes crashes or slow downs, it won't be released in Store until the issues are resolved.

Closing Words

Microsoft's approach in regards to extensions is different than that of other browser developers. Anyone can publish extensions for Firefox and Chrome for instance; these have to pass automated tests (Chrome), or a review (Firefox) before they are published.

While it is understandable that Microsoft wants only extensions in Store that don't impact the user experience in a negative manner, the lack of extensions may paint Edge in a negative light as well especially when compared to the thousands of extensions that are available for Chrome or Firefox.

Now you: Do you think that Microsoft's strategy in regards to Edge extensions makes sense?

Microsoft explains Edge's low extensions count
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Microsoft explains Edge's low extensions count
Microsoft's Edge team explained recently why there are not that many extensions to choose from for the Microsoft Edge web browser.
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  1. Rick A. said on October 7, 2017 at 3:10 am

    i think one of the reasons is having to have a freaking Microsoft account to install them, yes, an account to install browsers extensions. Do Mozilla require an account to install Firefox extensions? Do Opera require an account to install Opera extensions? Even GOOGLE doesn’t require a Google account to install Google Chrome extensions and this is coming from a trashy company that required a social media account to be able to comment on YouTube, LMFAO. if Microsoft didn’t require a Microsoft account more people would give Edge a try and install some extensions and maybe this would cause a little more Edge usage and maybe more developers would consider creating more extensions for Edge.

    My 3 sense…

  2. Clairvaux said on October 3, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    “Poorly written or even malicious add-ons for browsers remain a potential source of privacy, security, reliability and performance issues.”

    This should be obvious, however I haven’t heard that discussed very much in the ongoing Firefox WebExtensions controversy.

  3. Shaboo said on October 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    And Adblock Plus still doesn’t work properly on Edge, Creators Update.. I somehow foolishy THOUGHT it did, but I went to check the settings and it didn’t show any adblocking list and trying to add Easylist (which was there last time I checked a few months ago) didn’t work either. I have nothing but bad things to say about Edge, it’s somekind of stupid joke. Although I have noticed that when I stream movies on Google Chrome, the quality is choppy. But miraculously on Edge it’s smooth. Redmond are sabotaging Chrome on Windows 10, mark my words =) I wouldn’t mind if Edge was a good browser, but it’s just horrible in every way. But hey, maybe in 5-10 years it’s somewhat usable!

    1. Joe K. said on October 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Uninstall AdBlock Plus and use uBlock Origin or Adguard. I have yet to have any issues with either extension on Edge.

  4. chesscanoe said on October 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    It took them almost 2 years for Edge to get F11 function, and then it only works for the current tab. It seems obvious to me M$ chooses to devote inadequate development resource for this browser.

    1. janitor said on October 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      hey, they have one dedicated janitor to develop it

  5. Weilan said on October 2, 2017 at 11:09 am

    What a weird way to admit their utter incompetence and stupidity.

  6. AnorKnee Merce said on October 2, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Probably the same reason there are not many apps in Windows Store. *sarcasm*

    1. Dan82 said on October 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Microsoft’s policy on not allowing extensions to be published aside, there are loads of good but entirely non-commercial extensions for Chrome and Firefox, most of which only ever made it to be listed on those stores, because for the developers the hurdles aren’t too high. Even so I know several that are only available on Github, which is very hard to find if you’re not directly searching for it. A large majority of that will never make it onto the Microsoft ecosystem, even if the company didn’t end up blocking all but the top extensions based on some nebulous criteria. The fact that MS asks you to pay $19 / 14€ for a developer account, without the guarantee that your well-written and non-exploitative piece of software will even be published, doesn’t make for a very attractive venture.

      Mostly unrelated, but that cost and the whole concept of it was the reason why I didn’t bother publishing two free UWP apps I wrote. I’m of the opinion and conviction that it is not me that should pay Microsoft to be allowed into the club, but Microsoft should PAY ME for the trouble I went to writing these in the first place and making their store more attractive, or at the very least not put up annoying roadblocks. That is why I ended up releasing the apps outside Microsoft’s ecosystem to be sideloaded instead. It’s not like it would have been very popular, in the small and mostly private community only a few dozen people ended up using it, but still.

      1. Clairvaux said on October 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

        “MS asks you to pay $19 / 14€ for a developer account, without the guarantee that your well-written and non-exploitative piece of software will even be published.”

        These guys really know how to win friends and influence people.

  7. halfey said on October 2, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Even the extension page in Windows Store still have problems of its own. For example not all available extension shows up in the page. The page only shows 50 extensions in my computers (I’m not sure about other people). Extension like UBlock Origin is in the store but does not show up in the extension page.

    1. Joe K. said on October 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      uBlock Origin now shows up in both the store and the extensions page. I believe that issue was tied to the fact that the browser was still officially in “beta” up until the last creators update. I haven’t had any issues finding uBlock in the Windows store since the last Creators Update.

  8. ShintoPlasm said on October 2, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Microsoft has badly misjudged various things in recent years: Edge (both the browser and its extension ecosystem), Windows 10 Mobile (sad, neglected and pretty much dead), Windows 10 Desktop (intrusive around privacy and suspect move towards subscriptions)… Who’s leading them again?

    1. PanamaVet said on October 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Windows 10 has been a great experience for me.

      People comment on how fast it is. I show them how you can search from the start menu and find whatever you need quickly and easily.

      Typing part of a file path on the start menu and hitting enter to open the full folder path shown without having to key in the whole path is a nice every day touch.

      The improvement in DirectX is stunning.

      My machine is completely updated and I have not run into any problems doing it.

      I have Edge running with uBlock and other extensions. It is growing on me. I use it for business and Firefox for pleasure.

      I appreciate their careful approach to extensions. The ones they have run better than they do on the other browsers I use.

    2. BM said on October 2, 2017 at 11:56 pm


      The prime reason is probably in one word “Adoption”. Win10 is still only at 28% of desktop share, while Win7 has been pretty steady at ~48% for the past year.

      Meanwhile, Edge has barely moved beyond it’s 5% browser share from a year ago (now 5.5% – Chrome has grown by more than Edge in that same year).

      There just isn’t a groundswell of interest in Edge. And that is compounded in a world where mobile is outstripping desktop for net access. At this point, investing skills and resources in Edge looks to be a lower payoff vs a niche app on Android or iPhone.

      Making it difficult to bring those extensions to “market”, as the article sugggests, only creates a higher hurdle on existing impediments / disincentives.

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