Microsoft Calls Apple’s New App Store Policies ‘a Step in the Wrong Direction’

In Short
  • Microsoft calls Apple's revised App Store guidelines in the EU "a step in the wrong direction," possibly due to their fee structure and commission model.
  • Microsoft is quietly developing an alternative Xbox app store for the iPhone to offer King and Activision Blizzard mobile games to users.
  • At the moment, MS, Nvidia, and other big cloud gaming providers haven't reacted to Apple's plans to open up the App Store to cloud game streaming apps.

Apple recently announced that it will introduce sideloading on iPhones with iOS 17.4 to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The Cupertino giant’s revised App Store policies have already drawn much criticism from Spotify and Epic Games. And now, Microsoft is stepping in with its own set of concerns, calling the App Store changes in the EU “a step in the wrong direction.”

First reported back in December, Microsoft is quietly working on an alternative app store for the iPhone. Microsoft’s mobile Xbox store is under works to rival Apple and Google’s mobile gaming store dominance. It will primarily rely on content from some bigwigs in the mobile gaming space, including Activision Blizzard and King, the makers of Call of Duty: Mobile and Candy Crush Saga, respectively. The tech giant plans to launch the store later this year.

Apple’s new App Store guidelines, including the support for alternative app stores, theoretically became the stepping stone for Microsoft to launch its game-focused app store on iOS. But, Sarah Bond, the president of Microsoft’s Xbox platform, isn’t thrilled with Apple announcements.

“We believe constructive conversations drive change and progress towards open platforms and greater competition. Apple’s new policy is a step in the wrong direction. We hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all” – Sarah Bond

While Microsoft has expressed its concerns, it didn’t highlight any specific details with the revised guidelines. Well, an obvious assumption is that Microsoft isn’t willing to settle with Apple’s Core Technology Fee, which will charge app developers €0.50 for each annual app install.

This fee will kick in after 1 million downloads. Besides, if the app developers wish to include third-party payment methods, the Cupertino tech giant will also charge a 17% commission.

Microsoft’s reaction to Apple’s new app store policy changes could also hint at trouble for a potential Xbox cloud gaming app on iOS. Last week, when Apple announced its new App Store policies, it also opened the App Store for game streaming apps, for the first time. What’s worth noting is this change applies worldwide, and not just to the European Union.

This means, Microsoft will launch a dedicated Xbox Cloud gaming app on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. So, it might affect Microsoft’s overarching mobile gaming plans.

Nvidia, Microsoft, and other cloud major gaming providers haven’t reacted to Apple’s acceptance of cloud gaming services. We might hear about their plans to publish iOS apps for their services in the coming future.

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