Microsoft posted information titled: “Adapting ahead of regulation: a principled approach to app stores”. It includes four commitments in four important areas. This could be seen as an attempt to appease regulators.
The four Open App Store Principles are:
Quality, Safety, Security & Privacy
- We will enable all developers to access our app store as long as they meet reasonable and transparent standards for quality and safety.
- We will continue to protect the consumers and gamers who use our app store, ensuring that developers meet our standards for security.
- We will continue to respect the privacy of consumers in our app stores, giving them controls to manage their data and how it is used.
- We will hold our own apps to the same standards we hold competing apps.
- We will not use any non-public information or data from our app store to compete with developer’s apps.
Fairness and Transparency
- We will treat apps equally in our app store without unreasonable referencing or ranking of our apps or our business partners’ apps over others.
- We will be transparent about rules for promotion and marketing in our app store and apply these consistently and objectively.
- We will not require developers in our app store to use our payment system to process in-app payments.
- We will not require developers in our app store to provide more favorable terms in our app store than in other app stores
- We will not disadvantage developers if they chose to use a payment processing system other than ours or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.
- We will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their customers through their apps for legitimate business purposes, such as pricing terms and product or service offerings.
The New York Times described Microsoft’s efforts as a “charm offensive” in order to gain government approval for its $70 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard. The New York Times also noted that Microsoft pledges to continue to allow Activision’s major franchises, like Call of Duty, to be available on Sony PlayStation.
I find it interesting that Microsoft is not going to force game developers to use its payment systems for in-app payments. That is a big difference from Apple, who appears to strongly prefer that game developers use its payment system. Hopefully, Microsoft’s Open App Store Principles will prevent it from having to fight against a developer in court.