Mobile Applications

Microsoft Pledges To Give Developers More Control In Its App Store

Microsoft App Store

Microsoft is set to give developers more control in its app store, according to a report by The New York Times.

The decision sets the tech giant apart from competitor Apple, which has been criticized more often recently for its firm grip over its own App Store.

According to the newspaper, Microsoft is adopting 10 "principles" for its store, which companies can use to install programs on the Windows 10 computer operating system. The guidelines will give companies options to sell different services on their apps and websites and give access to third-party app stores.

Microsoft has long run a more open app store as compared to Apple's, so the change isn't a big shift for the company. But its explicit statement does add a new and bold voice to the debate over how Big Tech firms should run their app stores and how many restrictions they should be allowed to mete out. The app stores tend to serve as gateways between customers and developers, and have been ripe for the companies to make more profits.

One of the principles Microsoft is adopting allows developers to use differing payment systems. The recent controversy around Apple's ban of Epic Games' Fortnite app, over Epic's use of an in-app payment system that went against Apple's rules, was criticized by Microsoft earlier this year.

Microsoft General Manager for Gaming Developer Experiences Kevin Gammill said the ban would have meant the loss of Epic's Unreal Engine, which would've hurt companies trying to make new games. The controversy, Gammill said, would only serve to hurt gamers and game-makers.

Rima Alaily, vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said in a company blog post on the principles that the idea was to promote more choice. For instance, popular alternatives like the stores from Steam and Epic also exist, and the new principles won't block apps that choose to use those stores as well.

The blog post says businesses that do choose the Microsoft Store will "face reasonable, competitive fees that reflect the value they receive, and can be confident we will not use the Microsoft Store to tilt the playing field to our advantage."

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