Microsoft will soon allow Windows 11 users in the European Economic Area to disable Bing web search, remove the Edge browser, and even add third-party search to the operating system interface. All of these changes are necessary for the US company’s software platform to comply with the region’s Digital Markets Act, which will come into force in March 2024.
Microsoft must meet many requirements and restrictions to comply with antitrust laws. One of the things we talk about is giving users the opportunity “Easily remove pre-installed applications or change default settings in operating systems, virtual assistants or web browsers.”. In addition to clearly indicating which apps are system components in Windows 11, Microsoft will also add the ability to remove a number of default apps, including Cortana, Camera, Photos, Edge and Bing, from the operating system’s built-in web search.
“Windows uses the region selected by the customer during device setup to determine whether the computer is located in the EEA.”said Microsoft in a statement. Of course, Microsoft could easily roll out these changes to all Windows users, but that won’t happen as currently only the EU has strict antitrust laws requiring the company to do so. In addition to the EU countries, the EEA also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
This week, Microsoft begins testing these changes in a preview version of Windows 11. The innovations are likely to become established with the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act, which comes into force on March 6, 2024.