Microsoft promises to keep app stores open to ease consolidation issues

Microsoft today committed to a series of Open App Store principles intended in part to allay concerns about the company’s growing role and allay regulatory concerns about Activision Blizzard’s impending acquisition.

The company said the policies – detailed below – apply to the Microsoft Store on Windows and “the next-gen marketplaces we’ll be creating for games”.

A selection of policies are also going to be applied to the Xbox ecosystem and the storefront, although Microsoft has made a distinction between platforms that “have become essential to our daily work and personal lives” such as smartphones and computers and platforms dependent on a closed ecosystem to make a profit as hardware is sold at a loss, similar to consoles.

Along with the principles, Microsoft has pledged to make Call of Duty and other titles from the publisher available on PlayStation even beyond their existing agreements. He further expressed a desire to “take similar steps to support Nintendo’s successful platform.”

“Ultimately, we believe this principles-based approach will foster a more open app market and better serve our users and creators,” Microsoft President and Vice President Brad Smith said in announcing the principles. . “And, in turn, they will help us build a bigger and better games business.

“We know we’ll probably have to keep adapting these kinds of principles as we move forward. We’re dedicated to the constant change that a demanding world not only demands but deserves. In our view, this is all part of the future. And we accept it.”

The full list of principles follows below. The first seven will be implemented on Xbox consoles as well as the Microsoft Store for PC.

Quality, safety, security and confidentiality

1. We will allow all developers access to our app store as long as they follow reasonable and transparent standards of quality and security.

2. We will continue to protect consumers and gamers who use our app store, ensuring developers meet our security standards.

3. We will continue to respect consumer privacy in our app stores, giving them controls to manage their data and how it is used.

Responsibility

4. We will hold our own apps to the same standards we hold for competing apps.

5. We will not use any non-public information or data from our app store to compete with apps from developers.

Fairness and transparency

6. We will treat apps equally in our app store without unreasonable preference or ranking of our apps or the apps of our business partners over others.

7. We will be transparent about promotion and marketing policies in our app store and enforce them consistently and objectively.

Developer’s Choice

8. We will not require our app store developers to use our payment system to process in-app payments.

9. We will not require our app store developers to offer more favorable terms in our app store than in other app stores.

10. We will not disadvantage developers if they choose to use a payment processing system other than our own or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.

11. 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.

Along with these principles, Microsoft has also made the following specific commitments.

• We will continue to allow developers to choose whether they want to deliver their apps for Windows through our app store, from someone else’s store, or “separately” directly from the Internet.

• We will continue to give developers quick access to information about interoperability interfaces for Windows used by our own applications.

• We will allow Windows users to use other app stores and third-party apps, including changing the default settings in the appropriate categories.

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