Microsoft's AI assistant, Copilot, part of the extensive Windows 11 Moment 4 23H2 update, has encountered a delay in its release in the European Union. The delay is attributed to the regulations outlined in the Digital Markets Act (DMA), specifically the Gatekeeper rules, which impose certain requirements on dominant tech companies. Despite the setback, the company is actively working on aligning Microsoft Copilot with DMA regulations, aiming for compliance by March 2024, the deadline set by the EU Commission.
“We are working on an ambitious schedule to bring Copilot for Windows into full compliance with the DMA in the EEA,” states Microsoft, emphasizing their commitment to introducing the AI assistant as swiftly as possible. The exact duration of the delay remains uncertain, with technical and legal challenges yet to be fully addressed.
Regulatory Hurdles and Compliance Efforts
The introduction of the Digital Markets Act by the EU has brought about stringent regulations for tech giants, with Microsoft Windows and 22 other services being added to the gatekeeper list. The EU asserts that these services were promoting monopoly and did not prioritize customers' best interests. Companies listed as gatekeepers are given six months to comply with the regulations, promoting fair digital practices. Failure to comply could result in substantial fines, amounting to up to 10% of a company's worldwide annual turnover, and up to 20% for repeat offenses.
While the official release of Copilot in the EU is pending, users have found a manual workaround to activate the AI assistant. By executing a specific command in the Run window, users can access the Copilot sidebar and utilize basic features such as toggling Dark Mode. However, this method does not enable all functionalities, such as launching Copilot using the “Win+C” keyboard shortcut or displaying its icon in the taskbar. To use the workaround, users can start Microsoft Edge using the “Run”-dialog after pressing the hotkey “Windows+R” and launching Edge with this command: Run (Windows+R) and input microsoft-edge://?ux=copilot&tcp=1&source=taskbar.
Copilot's Features and Future Updates
Microsoft Copilot is a unified AI that combines Windows Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Bing Chat. This update, touted as one of the company's most ambitious, will introduce over 150 new features, integrating AI-powered experiences into apps like Paint, Photos, and Clipchamp. Bing will also see enhancements, including support for OpenAI's DALL.E 3 model and a revamped AI-powered shopping experience.
Copilot, still in preview status, offers a range of features including switching to Dark Mode, activating “Do Not Disturb” mode, and performing typical generative AI tasks such as creating texts or conducting searches via Bing Chat. Microsoft has plans for further updates to enhance Copilot's integration with Microsoft 365, Edge browser, and Bing search, aiming to develop a versatile AI assistant that utilizes data from various apps to assist users. Additional plugins are also in the works to incorporate external services.
Microsoft remains optimistic about the future of Copilot, with ongoing testing and implementation of changes to ensure full compliance with the EU's Digital Markets Act. The company is in continuous dialogue with the European Commission, working towards a resolution that aligns with regulatory requirements. The first markets for Copilot include North America, parts of Asia, and South America, with the European Economic Area anticipated to follow once compliance is achieved.