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Microsoft promises more “fair” app store, seemingly backs Epic Games

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The tech giant has released new “principles” for its own app store

Microsoft has seemingly taken Epic Games’ side in the developer’s legal battle against Apple, with the release of new “principles” for its Microsoft Store.

The tech giant has released a new set of ten principles that it plans to adopt for its own app store, the Microsoft Store, hoping it will “promote choice, ensure fairness and promote innovation” on its PC operating system, Windows 10. Although Microsoft’s new policies do not explicitly mention Epic Games or Apple, they do appear to draw a line between how the company and Apple operate the app stores on their respective platforms.

“For software developers, app stores have become a critical gateway to some of the world’s most popular digital platforms,” Microsoft said. “We and others have raised questions and, at times, expressed concerns about app stores on other digital platforms.”

“However, we recognise that we should practice what we preach,” it added. “So, today, we are adopting ten principles – building on the ideas and work of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) – to promote choice, ensure fairness and promote innovation on Windows 10, our most popular platform, and our own Microsoft Store on Windows 10.”

Through the principles, Microsoft has committed to giving developers “the freedom to choose whether to distribute their apps for Windows through our app store”. It also stated that it will not block apps or competing app stores based on “business model or how it delivers content and services” and “choice of which payment system to use”.

It is important to note that Epic Games first filed its lawsuit against Apple after the tech company removed the developer’s popular Fortnite app due to the addition of an in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s own.

This is not the first time Microsoft has signalled support for Epic Games in its legal battle with Apple. Back in August, the tech giant filed a statement in support of Epic Games’ injunction against Apple’s move to cut the developer from its Developer Program. Microsoft had claimed that the removal of Epic Games from the programme would threaten a sizable number of developers that use the Unreal Engine.

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