EU excludes Microsoft’s Bing, Edge, and Advertising from “Gatekeepers” category

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Microsoft got some relief from the EU in the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The regulatory body earlier designated Bing, Edge browser, and Microsoft Advertising as “Gatekeepers”. However, after Microsoft and Apple’s requests, the body decided to conduct an in-depth analysis on September 5, 2023.

On February 13, 2024, the commission announced the closure of these open investigations and decided that these services no longer fall under the “Gatekeeper” category. So they won’t have to ensure interoperability with their competitors.

If the EU didn’t exclude these services from the category, they would have to open doors and make them accessible. It would affect their monopolistic control of a specific market, as per the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Previously, Microsoft highlighted two new interoperability points in Windows 11. App developers can now position their products in the Feeds in the Windows Widgets Board and Web search in the Windows Search section. Moreover, users get more control over what appears on their feed and can disable them.

interoperability in the Feeds in the Windows Widgets Board
Image Courtesy: Microsoft

EEA users can rejoice that the Digital Markets Act will help them exercise more control over the Windows operating system. But users outside the EEA are still stuck with what Microsoft deems as “useful” with little control over its features, default apps, search engine, and data collection practices.

Windows 11 and 10 Will Fully Comply to DMA by March 6, 2024

Microsoft announced that it will offer updates for Windows 11 and 10 PCs, which will abide by the new regulatory practices. After installing the update, you can uninstall Microsoft Edge and switch to another browser permanently if you like.

uninstall option for microsoft edge windows 11

Similarly, you can remove Web Search from Microsoft Bing. In addition, Camera, Photos, and Cortona (now deprecated) can be uninstalled. However, users outside the EEA can remove these apps, too.

EEA users can choose not to sync their Microsoft Account data with Windows. They will also have more control over default apps, but some Microsoft apps will continue to use Edge to open links.

Microsoft has yet to introduce Copilot in EEA, which has remained its most highlighted feature since its Windows 11 and 10 integration. Copilot is limited to North America, the United Kingdom, and parts of Asia and South America and will stay until it gets approval from the EU.

If you want to enjoy the same freedom as EEA users, you must change the region. But you can do so only after you reset your PC because Windows maps the device to a region during the initial setup phase.

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