Using Windows these days means accepting many, many arguments for using and purchasing other Microsoft products. Some are subtle, like the built-in Edge browser suggesting you use its “recommended settings” after every major update. Some aren’t so subtle, like testing a “quiz” that required some users to explain why they were trying to leave the OneDrive app.
Those living in the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the EU and adds Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, will soon see the volume drop on their Windows 11 systems. To meet the requirements of the Windows 11 law Digital Markets Commission, which is expected to come into force in March 2024, Microsoft must make its apps easier to uninstall, its default settings easier to change and its attempts to steer people to its services easier to avoid.
Microsoft writes in a blog post that many of these changes will be available in a preview update to Windows 11 (version 23H2) this month. Windows 10 will benefit from similar changes “at a later date.” A few changes affect all Windows 10 and 11 users:
- Windows-essential apps will be labeled with a “System” tag in Settings, Start Menu, and search results.
- Camera, Cortana and Photos can now be uninstalled
In the EEA, much more is on the way:
- Bing web search from Start menu and Edge browser can be uninstalled
- Third parties can add items to Windows Widgets Board feeds
- Third parties, like Google or DuckDuckGo, can provide the integrated web search results that Bing once had exclusively.
- Windows users who choose to sync their Microsoft accounts will see their pinned apps and preferences synced, apparently retaining their EEA-compliant choices.
- Windows will now “always use customer-configured application defaults for link and file types”
Microsoft’s message states that Windows uses the region chosen during Windows installation to provide EEA-exclusive options. Only a PC reset can override the options. EEA Windows devices will also not benefit from the Microsoft Copilot preview that is rolling out to other markets.
The impending arrival of the Digital Markets Act will impact other large tech companies seen as “gatekeepers” providing “core platform services” that are “most prone to unfair trading practices.” Google recently presented to the European Union the idea of forcing Apple to make iMessage interoperable under the law. Apple is reportedly working on changes to iOS that would allow apps to be “loaded” outside of Apple’s App Store, while another provision of the Digital Markets Act would require developers to be able to use their systems. preferred payment.
Complementary legislation focused on online platforms, the Digital Services Act, will impact 19 platforms, including five services from Meta-owned Google, Facebook and Instagram, and Microsoft’s Bing search engine. On Wednesday, Meta became the first platform to appeal its gatekeeper status for its Messenger and Marketplace services, followed shortly after by TikTok.
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