Microsoft reacts to Apple’s proposed App Store Changes, and they're not happy

Xbox logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft has joined other major companies in stating their disappointment in Apple’s new plan devised to comply with the European Union’s tech regulation (via The Verge). Microsoft has weighed in with their concerns over the plan after similar statements from Epic Games and Spotify.

Xbox president Sarah Bond posted on X that Apple’s new plans are “a step in the wrong direction,” and that “we hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all.” 

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Microsoft could have a lot to lose if Apple’s planned changes go through. There have been rumors that Microsoft has been developing its own gaming app store in secret with content from Activision Blizzard pushed front and center. Microsoft would be able to stand as one of the stronger contenders in the newly opened market, but Apple’s plans could be a hindrance.

The reason for Apple’s plans is the EU’s Digital Marketing Act which has been developed to counteract the alleged monopoly that both Apple and Google have over the smartphone app market. In response, Apple has announced its Core Technology Fee, which means any developer using third-party app stores has to pay €0.50 for each annual app install after 1 million downloads. On top of this fee, Apple will take a 17 percent commission from the developers who choose to use a third-party payment system rather than Apple's own.

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

This plan was called “Hot Garbage” by Epic Game’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, who also claimed that “Apple’s plan to thwart Europe’s new Digital Markets Act law is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance.” Epic recently beat Google in a legal case regarding the company's apparent monopoly on the market and has been engaged in a long-running legal battle with Apple, with Apple being forced to halt alleged "steering" practices as a result.

Spotify has been equally as critical, accusing Apple of extortion with this implied App Store "tax" and has appealed to EU regulators to take action. Currently, the European Commission has said that it will issue a response to Apple’s changes when the regulation goes into effect in March, and that it will engage in strong action if the changes are not good enough. 

While Apple's plan for EU compliance would allow developers to work around their app store and payment policies, it does financially penalize them for doing so. However, it is still unclear what the EU will be able to do if it finds the changes lacking. We will know in March once these laws kick in.

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