The European Union wants to force OEMs to let users uninstall bloatware
Bloatware and carrier phones: name a more iconic duo. The number of preinstalled apps on some smartphones has grown so much these days that people still come to our forums to flash stock Android builds to get rid of the bloat. Bloatware is often preloaded on smartphones by carriers or even smartphone manufacturers themselves. They are often annoying services you will probably never use but you probably can’t uninstall, either. Since carrier devices are often fairly locked down, most users can’t get rid of these unwanted apps without mucking around with ADB. Thankfully, the European Union has a plan: It wants to force smartphone manufacturers to let users uninstall the bloatware that comes preloaded on these devices, according to the Financial Times.
This measure comes as a part of the upcoming Digital Services Act that the EU is expected to pass by the end of the year. The Act mostly aims to tackle the current dominance of big technology companies on the Internet. Some of the measures described in the draft Act would require companies like Amazon or Google to not use data collected on the platform for their own commercial activities unless they make it “accessible to business users active in the same commercial activities.” The draft would also prohibit so-called “gatekeeper platforms”, companies that own the platforms that others do business on (like Google and its Play Store, Apple and its App Store, or Amazon and its Marketplace), from using advertising data they receive from other businesses for “any other purpose other than advertising services.” Further, the Act would block big tech companies from giving preferential treatment of their own services to the detriment of rivals.
While this Act obviously doesn’t affect markets like the United States, where most of the annoying bloatware is preloaded by carriers instead of actual OEMs, it would, however, affect companies like Samsung and Xiaomi, who preload their own suite of apps even when there are already Google alternatives. We’ll keep you in the loop on any new developments on this front, as big tech companies will no doubt push back hard before these new regulations are put into effect.