Microsoft announced 10 new app store principles in a blog post Thursday, needling Apple and Google’sin the process. The new principles are intended to promote choice, fairness and innovation for software developers on Windows 10.
“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.” the first principle reads.
“Windows 10 is an open platform. Unlike some other popular digital platforms, developers are free to choose how they distribute their apps,” the tech giant wrote, alluding to Apple and Google.
Those companies are embroiled in a legal battle with Fortnite developer Epic over fees they charge in their respective app stores.
Earlier this month, lawmakers from the US House of Representativesof “abuses of monopoly power” and called for restructuring of the companies. Politicians also took issue with Apple’s “gatekeeper power” over its App Store.
The Washington-based tech giant, and longtime competitor to Apple, is part of a growing list of companies advocating for new policies that would upend the way Apple does business. The coalition, which includes Epic, maker of video game Fortnite, and Spotify, a music streaming service, laid out a set of app store principles it thinks Apple and other companies should follow.
Microsoft’s support for the coalition comes two days after a congressional committee released a 450-page report that blasted Apple and other technology companies for anticompetitive practices. The majority of the criticism for Apple revolved around the way it treats developers and competitors on the App Store. Microsoft is the only tech giant that was not investigated by the committee for antitrust concerns.
Apple has said its App Store does not have a monopoly, citing competition with Google’s Android operating system, and denies that it engages in anticompetitive practices.
In the blog post, Microsoft announced its own 10 principles, which closely resemble the coalition’s. Microsoft said, for instance, that it would charge developers “reasonable fees that reflect the competition we face from other app stores on Windows.” Apple has come under criticism from companies such as Epic and Spotify for charging companies a 30 percent commission on sales made on the App Store or on digital goods sold within apps.
“The innovation that drives the app economy also needs healthy and vibrant digital platforms,” Microsoft’s blog post said. “We know that regulators and policymakers are reviewing these issues and considering legal reforms to promote competition and innovation in digital markets,” the company wrote, adding that the sets of principles could serve as “productive examples.”
The news of Microsoft’s support was welcomed by the coalition’s members, which also include smaller companies such as Tile, the maker of Bluetooth tracking tags, and