Update: April 22, 6:35 p.m. ET - We've added a statement from Microsoft about Sets, and what we're hearing about the possible future of the feature.
Microsoft has reportedly nixed the Sets feature for Windows 10 that it showed off at the Build conference in 2018.
Sets essentially allowed Windows 10 users to manage tabs from different applications in a single window. One could have a Set devoted to a research project, for example, that would include a Word document, a PDF and email from Mail. It’s almost like the browser experience—which doesn’t care what site is open in a tab—on the operating system level.
Microsoft allowed Windows Insider Program members to use Sets, but the feature was pulled from Preview Builds in June 2018, and it hasn’t made its way into an official release.
“We’ve taken Sets offline from WIP to continue to evaluate long term while also needing to prioritize other work tied to Microsoft Edge,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
Microsoft senior program manager Rich Turner tweeted, “The Shell-provided tab experience is no more, but adding tabs is high on our to do list” on April 20.
ZDNet followed up on Turner’s tweet, seemingly confirming the news via an unidentified source. The publication added that Sets “wasn’t well received or understood” and that “the Office engineering team was going to have to do a lot of extra work” to make sure Microsoft's productivity suite played well with the feature. Microsoft apparently decided that Sets wasn’t worth all of that effort and kiboshed the project.
We're hearing that it's possible a similar feature could eventually come down the line, perhaps when the new version of Microsoft Edge is more finished.
The decision to nix Sets might not have much impact on most Windows users—especially if it was as poorly received as ZDNet reported—but it’s still a shame that it was canceled. People often have to bounce between programs while they work; the idea that those programs can be presented in a single window could have been a refreshing change from the current system.
Andrew E. Freedman contributed to this report.