Microsoft says Apple's new App Store rules are a 'step in the wrong direction'

Apple's new plan to comply with EU tech regulations has already drawn criticism from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and Spotify. Now Microsoft is weighing in on its own concerns, calling the changes to the EU App Store a “step in the wrong direction.”

Apple has proposed new core technology fees for apps that want to run in third-party app stores in the European Union. Developers using third-party app stores will be required to pay €0.50 per annual app install after 1 million downloads. Apple will also still take a 17 percent commission from developers who choose to use third-party payment processors.

“Apple's new policy is a step in the wrong direction,” Sarah Bond, head of Xbox, says in an article. Share on X. “We hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work toward a more inclusive future for all.”

Bond is now responsible for overseeing all of Microsoft's Xbox platform and hardware businesses, just as the company hopes to launch its own mobile Xbox Store. Microsoft has been quietly working on a mobile Xbox Store that could launch as soon as this year. The Xbox Mobile Store is designed as an alternative to Apple and Google's dominance of mobile gaming stores, and will draw on content from Activision Blizzard such as Call of Duty: Mobile And Candy Crush Saga — Two very popular mobile games published by Activision and King, respectively.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer previously discussed the potential of the Xbox Mobile Store last year, citing the European Union's Digital Markets Act as a “huge opportunity” for Microsoft.

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Spotify also accused Apple of “extortion” with this new App Store tax, and called on EU regulators to take action. The European Commission says it will do so Issuing a response to Apple's changes When the regulations officially take effect in March, they promise to take “strong action” if Apple’s “proposed solutions are not good enough.”

Microsoft's reaction to Apple's recent policy changes could also spell trouble for a potential Xbox Cloud Gaming app on iOS. Apple opened its App Store for cloud gaming services last week, at the same time as it announced new App Store policies for EU markets. “Developers can now offer a single app with the ability to stream all the games featured in their catalog,” Apple wrote in a blog post.

Nvidia, Microsoft, and other cloud gaming providers have not reacted to Apple's acceptance of cloud gaming services. We're still waiting to see if Apple's changes are enough to convince these providers to publish iOS apps for their services.

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