Microsoft recently announced new set of guidelines — Open App Store Principles — that will be applicable to the Microsoft Store on Windows. Microsoft said that it has developed these principles in part to address the company’s growing role and responsibility as “we start the process of seeking regulatory approval in capitals around the world for our acquisition of Activision Blizzard.” Lawmakers around the world have often argued that the likes of Apple, Google have created monopolies and restricted competition. Microsoft’s new principles, as per the company, wants to change that when it comes to app stores. “The world needs open app markets, and this requires open app stores,” said Microsoft in a straight dig at both Apple and Google. And the 11 principles are Microsoft’s way of telling the world how it is being ‘anti-Apple’ and ‘anti-Google’
Not ‘forcing’ developers to use its own payment system
Apple is rather strict about not giving developers the option of using third-party payment systems as it gets a commission on the payments received. Microsoft has made it clear that “it will not require developers in our app store to use our payment system to process in-app payments.”
More transparency with developers
Microsoft said that it “will enable all developers to access our app store as long as they meet reasonable and transparent standards for quality and safety.” Some developers have complained about lack of transparency when it comes to certain apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
No ‘bias’ towards its own apps
It has been suggested that Apple — and even Google — gives preferential treatment to its apps on their app stores. For instance, Apple’s own apps couldn’t be rated for a long time on the App Store. Microsoft has said it “will hold our own apps to the same standards we hold competing apps.”
Protecting consumers’ privacy and safety
On Google Play Store, often many apps end up that are ‘fake’ or spread malware. Microsoft said that it will “continue to protect the consumers and gamers who use our app store, ensuring that developers meet our standards for security.”
No Fortnite-like bans on Microsoft Store
Both Apple and Google had banned Epic Games’ Fortnite from their app stores. Apple continues to be involved in a bitter legal fight with Epic and Fortnite is still not available on Apple devices. Microsoft said that it will not disadvantage developers if they choose to use a payment processing system other than its or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.
Regulation of tech and ‘privacy’ can work together
Apple has often argued that if it opens it App Store to others, user privacy will suffer. However, Microsoft said that believe it’s possible for governments to adopt new tech regulation that promotes competition while also protecting fundamental values like privacy and national and cyber security.
Giving users the option to use other app stores
Apple is very strict about not allowing iPhone or iPad users to ‘legally’ use any other app store. The apps have to be downloaded from App Store only. Microsoft says that it will enable Windows users to use alternative app stores and third-party apps, including by changing default settings in appropriate categories.
Giving gamers more choice and freedom
Microsoft is betting big on gaming in almost every aspect — consoles, mobiles, cloud. “Our vision is to enable gamers to play any game on any device anywhere, including by streaming from the cloud,” says the company. Apple Arcade isn’t available on any other device or platform except the ones that are owned by Apple.