Microsoft Announces App Store Principles to “Ensure Fairness” in the Digital Economy

Two days after the U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee released the results of its investigation into Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google concerning their potential monopolistic control over the digital economy, Microsoft added its voice to the conversation.

Notably absent as a target of the investigation, the company acknowledged in a blog post that “app stores have become a critical gateway to some of the world’s most popular digital platforms,” and went on to announce 10 principles for its App Store that sought to “promote choice, ensure fairness and promote innovation.”

Building on the work of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) the principles are as follows:

  1. Developers will have the freedom to choose whether to distribute their apps for Windows through our app store. We will not block competing app stores on Windows.
  2. We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s business model or how it delivers content and services, including whether content is installed on a device or streamed from the cloud.
  3. We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s choice of which payment system to use for processing purchases made in its app.
  4. We will give developers timely access to information about the interoperability interfaces we use on Windows, as set forth in our Interoperability Principles.
  5. Every developer will have access to our app store as long as it meets objective standards and requirements, including those for security, privacy, quality, content and digital safety.
  6. Our app store will charge reasonable fees that reflect the competition we face from other app stores on Windows and will not force a developer to sell within its app anything it doesn’t want to sell.
  7. Our app store will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their users through their apps for legitimate business purposes.
  8. Our app store will hold our own apps to the same standards to which it holds competing apps.
  9. Microsoft will not use any non-public information or data from its app store about a developer’s app to compete with it.
  10. Our app store will be transparent about its rules and policies and opportunities for promotion and marketing, apply these consistently and objectively, provide notice of changes and make available a fair process to resolve disputes.

Given the evolving technology, business and regulatory landscape, the company said that the principles would be reviewed from time to time.

Microsoft also highlighted the fact that Windows 10 is an open platform and that developers have a variety of means to distribute apps to the public which include Microsoft’s Store, third party app stores such as Steam and Epic, and directly over the internet “without restrictions.”

Categories: Cloud Computing, Digital Economy, Digital Platforms, Government v Tech, Regulation, Startup Ecosystem

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