Microsoft abandons feature that could have changed Windows 10 forever

Microsoft has abandoned a Windows 10 feature, which could have fundamentally changed how we used personal computers.

The long-delayed Sets feature, which would have allowed users to place multiple applications in a web browser-like tabbed interface, will reportedly no longer be coming to the main version of Windows 10.

First announced in 2017, Sets would have made switching between apps as simple as switching between tabs in a web browser, and would have provided an alternative to summoning individual apps from the Windows taskbar.

Fears were rightly raised when the once-exciting feature was removed from test builds last summer ahead of the October update. However, the company said it was simply perfecting the feature ahead of its release.

Now, the ever-reliable Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet says the feature is “gone and not expected to come back in a future release.”

Foley writes that the feature “generally wasn’t well received or understood” by Windows Insiders who had beta access. She also points out that internally there was concern over how much work it would take the Microsoft Office engineering team to ensure the productivity suite worked well with Sets.

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According to the report, the key moment came when Microsoft had to decide whether to integrate the Sets feature when shifting the Edge browser over to Google’s Chromium engine. Doing so would have resulted in a long delay for the Chromium Edge browser, Foley’s sources say, which may have proved the end of the road for Sets.

The last official comment we heard from Microsoft on the matter came in July 2018. Upon removing the feature from test builds, the firm said:

“Thank you for your continued support of testing Sets. We continue to receive valuable feedback from you as we develop this feature helping to ensure we deliver the best possible experience once it’s ready for release.

“Starting with this build, we’re taking Sets offline to continue making it great. Based on your feedback, some of the things we’re focusing on include improvements to the visual design and continuing to better integrate Office and Microsoft Edge into Sets to enhance workflow.”

Were you looking forward to the launch of the Sets tabbed interface for Windows 10? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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