The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is about to have a major impact on Microsoft Windows, making it a lot less annoying.
Microsoft has been alienating users with ads aimed at pushing users to continue using Microsoft’s own apps rather than those of competitors. For example, trying to download Google Chrome from Microsoft Edge prompts a poll asking why the user wants to use Chrome. Similarly, quitting the OneDrive app pops up another poll asking why the user wants to quit the app. The behavior has angered many users and is reminiscent of the old Microsoft that got into antitrust trouble for its strong-arm tactics.
The company has revealed in a blog post that users — at least those in the European Economic Area (EEA) — will have more control over their systems and have to deal with fewer annoyances. One of the biggest changes is the ability to uninstall default apps:
All apps in Windows can be uninstalled. Of course, apps can always be installed again from the Microsoft Store and internet. Settings > Apps > Installed apps continue to show all the apps installed on the PC and we’ve added the ability to uninstall:
- Web Search from Microsoft Bing, in the EEA
- Microsoft Edge, in the EEA
The company says Windows will also respect the user’s choice for their default apps, at least in the EEA:
In the EEA, Windows will always use customers’ configured app default settings for link and file types, including industry standard browser link types (http, https). Apps choose how to open content on Windows, and some Microsoft apps will choose to open web content in Microsoft Edge.
It’s nice to see Microsoft making these changes, but is unfortunate the company is only doing so when forced to, and only in the relevant jurisdiction.