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Microsoft to cease forcing Home windows 11 customers into Edge in EU international locations

Microsoft will lastly cease forcing Home windows 11 customers in Europe into Edge in the event that they click on a hyperlink from the Home windows Widgets panel or from search outcomes. The software program big has began testing the modifications to Home windows 11 in latest check builds of the working system, however the modifications are restricted to international locations throughout the European Financial Space (EEA).

“Within the European Financial Space (EEA), Home windows system parts use the default browser to open hyperlinks,” reads a change word from a Home windows 11 check construct launched to Dev Channel testers final month. I requested Microsoft to touch upon the modifications and, particularly, why they’re solely being utilized to EU international locations. Microsoft refused to remark.

Microsoft has been ignoring default browser decisions in its search expertise in Home windows 10 and the taskbar widget that forces customers into Edge in the event that they click on a hyperlink as an alternative of their default browser. Home windows 11 continued this development, with search nonetheless forcing customers into Edge and a brand new devoted widgets space that additionally ignores the default browser setting.

In the event you click on a hyperlink from the search interface in Home windows 11, it forces you into Edge in the meanwhile.
Picture: Microsoft

As search and Home windows Widgets are each system-level parts in Home windows 11, they may quickly use the default browser to open hyperlinks in EU international locations. Beforehand, you possibly can use third-party apps like EdgeDeflector to bypass Microsoft’s browser restrictions and open Begin menu search ends in your default browser of alternative. Microsoft shut this workaround down practically two years in the past.

Microsoft’s Groups modifications are designed to keep away from additional antitrust scrutiny, after the European Fee opened a proper antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s bundling of its Groups software program with the Workplace productiveness suite in July. The EU’s investigation was sparked by a criticism from rival Slack, which alleged that Microsoft had “illegally tied” its Microsoft Groups product to Workplace and is “pressure putting in it for hundreds of thousands, blocking its elimination, and hiding the true price to enterprise clients.”

It’s not clear if the Home windows 11 modifications are associated to this EU investigation or whether or not Microsoft has confronted additional complaints from rivals concerning the habits of its default apps in Home windows. Microsoft initially made it tough to change default browsers in Home windows 11, triggering complaints from rivals earlier than the corporate ultimately backed down.

It’s arduous to think about that Microsoft is making these Home windows 11 modifications particularly in EU international locations out of alternative, although. They’re probably associated to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which comes into impact in March 2024. Platforms like Home windows can be required to satisfy a slew of interoperability and competitors guidelines, together with permitting customers “to simply un-install pre-installed apps or change default settings on working techniques, digital assistants, or net browsers that steer them to the services of the gatekeeper and supply alternative screens for key providers.”

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