Microsoft Outlines Windows Changes to Adhere to EU’s Digital Markets Act

Microsoft is preparing to implement updates to Windows 11 and Windows 10 to ensure compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which will be fully in effect by 2024. In September, the EU Commission identified Microsoft as one of the “gatekeeper” companies that must make changes to their platforms to avoid limiting competition.

Some of the adjustments that Microsoft is making in Windows 11 are already undergoing testing with Windows Insiders. For example, the new “system” label on System components in the Start menu’s All Apps list, and the new Settings > System > System Components page that showcases notable operating system components.

Additionally, Microsoft is allowing users in the EU to uninstall more of its inbox apps on Windows 11, such as Cortana, Camera, and Photos, and include Microsoft Edge’s Web Search component in that list. In Europe, Microsoft is introducing two new interoperability points for third-party apps: Web search in Windows Search and Feeds in the Widgets board.

The changes will also impact the Windows 11 widgets board, which will support other news providers aside from Microsoft Start (MSN.com), enabling users to turn different “feeds” of information on and off.

Microsoft indicates that Windows 11 users in the EU can expect the OS to adhere to the customers’ configured app default settings for link and file types. However, some Microsoft apps may still choose to open web content in Microsoft Edge.

Furthermore, Windows 11 will prompt users in the EU to sync their Microsoft account with Windows to permit the OS to leverage personal information in other apps and Windows devices.

All these changes to comply with the EU’s DMA will gradually roll out to Windows 11 Insiders on the Release Preview Channel, with plans to extend these changes to Windows 10 version 22H2 in the future. Microsoft aims to make these updates available to all users by March 6, 2024.

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