If you've ever wished for a Windows without Bing, Edge, or other built-in programs, Microsoft has chosen to give your request if you live in the European Union.
The Windows Insider Program Team seemed to abandon its quest for exemptions from the EU's Digital Markets Act in a Thursday update, declaring that Windows 11's release preview channel will soon provide slices of the OS that conform with the Euro law.
The most noticeable feature, according to Redmond, is the option to "uninstall all apps in Windows," including online search via Microsoft Bing and Microsoft Edge. Outside of the EU, Windows users will be free to delete the Camera, Photos, and Cortana applications, but Bing search and the Chromium-powered Edge will remain.
Microsoft also stated that it is bringing interoperability capabilities to Windows 11, allowing third-party suppliers such as Google to provide default services if the search giant want to build an alternative for Bing's online search in Windows Search. Feeds in Windows Widgets are now being made available. Again, both are confined to Windows versions supplied to clients in the EU.
Another option available to EU citizens is the ability to choose how data synchronizes between local systems and Microsoft accounts. Microsoft stated that in the future, it will "always use customers' configured app default settings for link and file types," but added that "some Microsoft apps will choose to open web content in Microsoft Edge."
Unfortunately, Windows users in the European Economic Area (EEA) who were expecting to get their hands on the newly renamed Bing Chat, now called Copilot, will not be able to do so as part of these upgrades, and Britain is finally receiving a Brexit bonus.
"The initial markets for the Copilot in Windows (in preview) include North America, United Kingdom and parts of Asia and South America," Microsoft said in a statement. "It is our intention to add additional markets over time including the EEA." There was no word on when Copilot will make his European debut.
The Windows maker stated that the trial updates would be sent out gradually over the following several weeks and that the same capabilities will be added to Windows 10 "at a later date." The EU's new laws take effect in March 2024, by which time (March 6, precisely) Microsoft has stated that Windows 10 and 11 will have the functionality required to be compliant.