Microsoft recently announced its plan to remove third-party printer drivers from the Windows operating system by the year 2027. This decision is a result of Windows transitioning to a new printer driver system called Mopria Alliance. The Mopria Alliance is a consortium of 24 printer companies that have been working together since 2013, covering a diverse range of over 7,000 devices from renowned brands like Canon, HP, Samsung, Xerox, Epson, Brother, Ricoh, and Lexmark.
Originally, the Mopria Consortium focused on developing printer drivers for Android devices (“mo”bile “pri”nter “a”lliance). However, over time, they expanded their support to other operating systems such as Windows and ChromeOS. The central driver feature of Mopria has quietly been in use since Windows 10 21H2 and has been met with positive feedback.
Considering the success of the Mopria driver feature and the evolving landscape, Microsoft made the decision to gradually remove the old third-party drivers from the system. The process will begin with an announcement in 2023, followed by the discontinuation of accepting new third-party drivers through Windows Update in 2025. By 2026, users will have the option to select the new driver system, and in 2027, Microsoft will halt the updates for the old drivers via Windows Update.
TLDR: Microsoft will phase out third-party printer drivers from Windows by 2027 due to the adoption of the new Mopria Alliance printer driver system. The transition will occur gradually, with the announcement in 2023, the discontinuation of accepting new drivers in 2025, the option to choose the new drivers in 2026, and the cessation of updates for old drivers in 2027. This move aims to streamline the printer driver experience for Windows users.