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The EU mandates Microsoft to allow users to remove native apps

EU Mandates Transformative Windows 11

In a notable development, the European Union (EU) is poised to liberate Windows 11 users within the European Economic Area (EEA) from the constraints of Bing, Microsoft’s web search engine. Microsoft, in adherence to the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act, scheduled for implementation in March 2024, is set to implement substantial alterations to Windows 11. These modifications are designed to align with a host of interoperability and competition regulations, granting users the autonomy to disable Bing, uninstall Microsoft Edge, and incorporate personalized web search providers, potentially including Google.

Microsoft’s compliance strategy involves explicit indications of system components in Windows 11 and offers users in the EEA the exclusive privilege to entirely remove Microsoft Edge and Bing-powered web search from the Windows Search functionality. Although this capability could be extended universally, Microsoft opts for a region-specific approach to align with compliance mandates, using the chosen region during device setup as a determinant for Digital Markets Act (DMA) adherence.

Empowering EEA Users

Windows 11 users in the EEA will also gain access to enhanced interoperability features for feeds in the Windows Widgets board and web search within Windows Search. This empowers search providers like Google to integrate their custom web searches seamlessly into the primary Windows Search interface. Users in the EEA can also eliminate Bing results, allowing alternative search providers like Google to become the default if Bing has been uninstalled.

Refined Link Dynamics in the EEA

The dynamics of opening links in browsers have undergone refinement, where Microsoft maintains that Windows will adhere to users’ configured app default settings for various link and file types, including standard browser link types (http, https). Despite this, Microsoft apps may still opt for Microsoft Edge as the default browser for web content in the EEA.

Testing the Windows 11 Evolution

Initial testing of these adjustments is underway in the Release Preview version of Windows 11, with further updates planned for Windows 10 in subsequent Release Preview tests. Both operating systems are anticipated to achieve compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act by March 6th, 2024.

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