Microsoft has announced that it will be making its Windows 11 operating system compliant with the Digital Markets Act, which comes into effect in March 2024 in the European Union (EU). As a result, Microsoft will allow Windows 11 users in the region to uninstall the EDGE browser, Cortana, replace Bing Search with another search engine and more.
Through a blog post, Microsoft said that it would comply with one of the clauses of the act, according to which the company should allow end users to easily uninstall pre-installed applications or stop the installation of applications by default and provide for choice. As a result, users can now uninstall the following system apps from Windows 11:
- Web Search from Microsoft Bing, in the EEA
- Microsoft Edge, in the EEA
Note that Edge Browser and Web search with Bing can only be uninstalled in the European Economic Area (EEA) and not other regions that lie outside the territory. Microsoft explained that ”Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during device setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA. Once chosen in device setup, the region used for DMA compliance can only be changed by resetting the PC”.
In addition, more interoperability points in Windows are now available in the EEA. In other words, Apps can bring their unique differentiation to more customers by being hosted directly in Windows features, meaning they’ll act as if they were baked into the system. Customers can choose to use their preferred experience for common tasks in Windows, like searching the internet.
For instance, users will now be able to use other search engines to see web results in the primary search interface of Windows 11. If Google wants, it could provide its search results in that area and replace Bing as the default if a user has uninstalled Microsoft’s search provider.
Then, in the EEA, Windows will ask users if they want to sync their Microsoft account with Windows so that Windows data is available on their other Windows devices and in Microsoft products that users sign into.
Next, Windows 11 in the EU will continue to prompt customers when they open content that a newly installed app registers for so they can easily change their default. Customers can continue to easily configure app defaults in Settings > Apps > Default apps.
“In the EEA, Windows will always use customers’ configured app default settings for link and file types, including industry standard browser link types (http, https). Apps choose how to open content on Windows, and some Microsoft apps will choose to open web content in Microsoft Edge”, the blog post read.
Microsoft is starting to test these new features and changes to Windows 11 in the Release Preview version that is rolling out currently.