Microsoft codifies app fairness rules, sides with Epic Games


Microsoft has sided with Epic Games in its push against Apple’s app store policies. A new declaration announces its principles for “choice, fairness, and innovation.”

In a new declaration post, Microsoft inadvertently sides with Epic Games by principle. While the declaration did not mention both companies by name, the contents are almost as good. Furthermore, the post outlined how the MS Store separates itself from the Apple Store.

MS declares “10 commandments” of app fairness

In their declaration, MS notes how much different their storefront is. In addition, they champion themselves in a pro-developer, pro-consumer position.

“For software developers, app stores have become a critical gateway to some of the world’s most popular digital platforms,” said the post. “We and others have raised questions and, at times, expressed concerns about app stores on other digital platforms.”

The declaration then outlined their ideas based on the work of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF). CAF is the newly formed group comprised of companies asking for fairer deals from both Apple and Google. It includes Epic Games and 13 other software devs.

Microsoft lists crucial principles for their storefront

Microsoft listed all ten principles for their storefront. In their own words:

  • Developers will have the freedom to choose whether to distribute their apps for Windows through our app store. We will not block competing app stores on Windows.
  • We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s business model or how it delivers content and services, including whether the content is installed on a device or streamed from the cloud.
  • We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s choice of which payment system to use for processing purchases made in its app.
  • We will give developers timely access to information about the interoperability interfaces we use on Windows, as set forth in our Interoperability Principles.
  • Every developer will have access to our app store as long as it meets objective standards and requirements, including security, privacy, quality, content, and digital safety.
  • Our app store will charge reasonable fees that reflect the competition we face from other app stores on Windows and will not force a developer to sell within its app anything it doesn’t want to sell.
  • Our app store will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their users through their apps for legitimate business purposes.
  • Our app store will hold our own apps to the same standards to which it holds competing apps.
  • Microsoft will not use any non-public information or data from its app store about a developer’s app to compete with it.
  • Our app store will be transparent about its rules and policies and opportunities for promotion and marketing, apply these consistently and objectively, provide notice of changes, and make available a fair process to resolve disputes.

New declaration a straight-up attack on Apple policies

The new declaration from Microsoft is a direct attack on the current Apple Store. Principles one to three from the list straight up rip on Apple for its anti-competitive practices. The entire court trial with Epic Games came from the latter’s choice to use their own payment processor.

Apple requires all its app developers to use Apple as their payment processor. The tech giant then takes a 30% cut off purchases and in-app microtransactions. The same rule is the reason Apple is now a $2 trillion business.

They also note how Steam and Epic, two gaming giants, are there as their competitors. Furthermore, the company notes how they offer choices to customers without stifling their distribution.

CAF released a statement, noting it “marks a critical moment in the global campaign to level the playing field for all developers.” Meanwhile, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, is equally happy with Microsoft’s statement.

Featured image courtesy of Microsoft/Youtube Screenshot

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