Microsoft starts rollout of Windows DMA compliance changes in Europe

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 11, 2024
Windows 11 Help, Windows 11 News

Microsoft has started the rollout of Windows changes for users in the European Economic Area to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The company says that the rollout has started on March 6, 2024 already. Most Windows 10 and 11 users from the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA) will get these changes by April 2024.

Those who cannot wait to get them may enable the Get Windows updates as soon as they're available for your device option in Windows Update to get them earlier according to Microsoft. Tests on several Windows 10 and 11 devices in the European Union came up empty at the time of writing though. It seems that even this option is limited by Microsoft currently.

The DMA and its impact on Windows

The Digital Markets Act is a law that is designed to prevent major Internet companies from using their market power for unfair advantages in the market.

Six so-called gatekeepers were designated by the European Commission in 2023. The companies -- Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, and Meta -- operate 22 core platform services.

Microsoft's Windows PC operating system is such a platform. To comply with the DMA, Microsoft had to implement changes to Windows. These changes give users more choice. One of them, for instance, gives users the option to uninstall Microsoft Edge and Bing from Windows.

Chris Nelson, Microsoft Head of the DMA Compliance Function, detailed these in a blog post last week. Nelson divides the changes into design and data handling changes.

As far as design changes are concerned, Nelson confirms that users from the EEA will be able to uninstall Microsoft's Edge web browser and Bing web search functionality on their Windows devices. These removals work identical to other uninstallations on the devices. In other words, users may go to Settings > Apps to remove the components from Windows.

Note: it is recommended to install another browser prior to removing Microsoft Edge from the operating system. I have described what happens when you don't here.

Besides removing Edge and Bing web search, Microsoft is unlocking the Windows taskbar and the widgets panel for third-party web applications and news feeds. It is possible that other news providers, for example Google or Yahoo, may create plugins for Windows's widgets panel.

The third change affects the process of signing-in to Windows with a Microsoft account. Windows signed-in users into other Microsoft products automatically in the past. The automated process is blocked for users from the EEA.

Nelson lists two changes to the handling of data. Third-party applications data collected from Windows PCs in the EEA will "not be used for any competitive purpose against the app providers" according to Microsoft.

The second change introduces redesigned data flows to inform users when Microsoft combines data from Windows with data from other Microsoft products and services.

Closing Words

The changes are introduced only in the European Economic Area and not in other regions or countries. There are ways around this though. More options will likely come to light once the changes have landed on more systems in the EEA.

Microsoft is not addressing other points of criticism. The requirement to sign-in or create a Microsoft account during setup, for instance, is not touched. While you can still set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account, it is not an option that Windows 11 highlights to the user during setup.

Now You: what is your take on these changes?

Article Name
Microsoft starts rollout of Windows DMA compliance changes in Europe
Microsoft has started the rollout of Digital Markets Act changes in its Windows 10 and 11 operating systems for users from the European Economic Area.
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  1. John said on March 11, 2024 at 7:00 pm

    This sort of option should have never required the action of the EU to enact it. Microsoft needs to make this available in all countries not just the EU. But I am sure there will potentially be workarounds for the rest of us too.

  2. Tachy said on March 11, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    It’s a step in the right direction although still insufficient.

    This needs to be done for mobile devices as they far outnumber desktops pc’s these days.

  3. Tom Hawack said on March 11, 2024 at 2:09 pm

    This is great news and should be applied world-wide.
    In the balance Windows 11 – Linux as my next OS (Win7 here) this change gives some weight to the former.
    Microsoft can technically manage these changes which relaxes users of their OSs imperialism, in the same way having a glass of wine, or a plain “menthe à l’eau” and a “jambon-beurre” sandwich at a Parisian café relaxes anyone from BigMacs’ trash-food, or a fresh orange juice relaxes everyone from a disgusting Coke or Pepsi uncivilized beverage.
    Always nice to see imperialism defeated by respect for consumers.

  4. John G. said on March 11, 2024 at 10:12 am

    Uninstall Bing: nice enough.
    Uninstall Edge: to install what?
    Uninstall Defender: no option.
    Uninstall Copilot: it’s not installed.

    DMA what? :/

    Thanks for the article! :]

    1. 450Mhz said on March 11, 2024 at 1:29 pm

      Copilot is installed on Windows 11.
      You can use it by simply updating to the latest version.

      How do you uninstall Bing?
      Bing is a search engine.

      Care to explain?

      1. John G. said on March 11, 2024 at 4:46 pm

        There is no Copilot in Europe. About Bing, just read the article.

      2. 450Hhz said on March 12, 2024 at 6:33 am

        Copilot in Windows is in preview limited available in Europe. Copilot for Sales is also available in preview. Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently announced for 1st of November 2023.

        Uninstall Bing: nice enough.
        Uninstall Copilot: it’s not installed.

        And yet Bing is still a search engine.
        You’re the one telling everyone to “Uninstall Bing: nice enough”

        Care to explain again?

      3. John G. said on March 16, 2024 at 9:57 am

        @450mhz, about Bing, just read the article, please. It’s not the Bing you are talking about. And please do quote rightly! :/

      4. 450Mhz said on March 16, 2024 at 11:44 pm

        In your own words you said “Uninstall Bing: nice enough”.

        I want to know how to uninstall Bing the search engine on windows 11?

        Tell me how do this?

  5. Bobo said on March 11, 2024 at 9:54 am

    This site, Martin, is it meant to be like ghacks was in the past? Meaning: good.

    1. Jody Thornton said on March 17, 2024 at 12:39 pm

      I notice that there are no longer any of those fluff articles that we were complaining about. I think the last one was in November, from an unknown author. Good to see, but it did its damage. I’m here hardly as much as I used to be.

    2. BillD said on March 11, 2024 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks for mentioning, I hadn’t heard about it, and it does look good

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