Microsoft outlines 10 app store principles in a jab at Apple

Microsoft today introduced a set of 10 principles that it will use to steer its app store policies for developers. The software giant says the principles aim "to promote choice, ensure fairness, and promote innovation on Windows 10".

In a blog post outlining these principles, Rima Alaily, Microsoft's Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, reiterated that Windows 10 is an open platform where "developers are free to choose how they distribute their apps".

The 10 principles are as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s business model or how it delivers content and services, including whether content is installed on a device or streamed from the cloud.
  3. 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.
  4. We will give developers timely access to information about the interoperability interfaces we use on Windows, as set forth in our Interoperability Principles.
  5. Every developer will have access to our app store as long as it meets objective standards and requirements, including those for security, privacy, quality, content and digital safety.
  6. 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.
  7. Our app store will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their users through their apps for legitimate business purposes.
  8. Our app store will hold our own apps to the same standards to which it holds competing apps.
  9. Microsoft will not use any non-public information or data from its app store about a developer’s app to compete with it.
  10. 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.

These principles aren't new, though. Microsoft has long been providing developers a way to distribute their apps and games the way they like. Also, Microsoft Store isn't the only distribution option available to developers on Windows, with Steam and Epic already available on the platform. That said, these principles don't apply to the Xbox store since Microsoft "operates on a different set of rules" when it comes to that platform.

The principles build upon the work of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), which was launched in September by Epic Games, Spotify, and more organizations to take on Apple's App Store policies. Interestingly, while today's announcement does not specifically mention Apple, it comes at a time when that company is facing an antitrust investigation for its app store practices.

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