Microsoft has announced Windows 11 users will be able to uninstall core applications in a bid to comply with EU regulations.
The tech giant said several new changes to the operating system will allow users to essentially opt out and uninstall pre-packaged apps such as the Microsoft Edge browser.
Users will also be able to uninstall Bing Search from the Windows Search panel while an update to the OS’ Widgets Board will allow users to switch off the Microsoft News feed and advertisements.
The move is aimed at ensuring the company complies with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The changes will apply to all 27 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), Microsoft confirmed. The firm added that the changes will be “gradually rolling out to devices in Release Preview over the next couple weeks”.
Similar changes for Windows 10 users will also be available in the Release Preview Channel “at a later date”, Microsoft added.
“We’ll be updating Windows 10, version 22H2 and Windows 11, version 23H2 PCs in the EEA to be compliant by March 6th, 2024.”
Microsoft once again bows to EU pressure
Microsoft’s latest move follows a back-and-forth between the tech giant and EU regulators in recent months over business practices.
Find out how financial services firms can deliver remarkable digital experiences customers
In August, Microsoft announced plans to unbundle Teams from its Microsoft 365 and Office 365 productivity suites for EU customers.
The move was aimed specifically at staving off regulatory scrutiny from EU lawmakers following the launch of an investigation into the bundling of Teams within its software suites.
Microsoft’s practices were the subject of an official complaint from Slack, lodged in 2020, that alleged the tech giant was “force installing” Teams for millions of customers, blocking its removal, and thus harming competition for rival software providers.
What is the Digital Markets Act?
The Digital Markets Act is a piece of sweeping EU legislation that aims to improve fairness and competition across the union’s digital economy.
The DMA has been billed as a key piece of legislation to ensure that large tech companies such as Meta, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft are scrutinized for potentially anti-competitive practices.
These ‘gatekeeper’ organizations have been criticized for essentially creating walled gardens around products which limit consumers’ access to alternative platforms and services.
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Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.
He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.