UPDATED [MS Response]: Epic’s Tim Sweeney Urges To ‘Fight’ Microsoft & “Locking Down” The Consumer PC Ecosystem
UDPATE 1: Microsoft has responded to Sweeney’s article
In response to Sweeney’s allegations, Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of Windows at Microsoft, told the Guardian: “The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required.
Epic Games co-founder and graphics guru, Tim Sweeney, urges developers to “fight” against Microsoft and their “first apparent step towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem”.
In a The Guardian article that was just published, Sweeney pleads to fellow developers to oppose Microsoft and their Universal Windows Platform. According Sweeney, Microsoft still has time to change their course. If not, then the Universal Windows Platform “can, should, must and will, die as a result of industry backlash”.
With its new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, Microsoft has built a closed platform-within-a-platform into Windows 10, as the first apparent step towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolising app distribution and commerce.
In my view, this is the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made. While the company has been convicted of violating antitrust law in the past, its wrongful actions were limited to fights with specific competitors and contracts with certain PC manufacturers.
This isn’t like that. Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.
In the article, Sweeney writes that he felt compelled to write about Microsoft and, according Sweeney, the companies “most aggressive move” so far. As a founder of a major Windows game developer however, he felt it was necessary to ask fellow developers to oppose Microsoft.
“As the founder of a major Windows game developer and technology supplier, this is an op-ed I hoped I would never feel compelled to write. But Epic has prided itself on providing software directly to customers ever since I started mailing floppy disks in 1991. We wouldn’t let Microsoft close down the PC platform overnight without a fight, and therefore we won’t sit silently by while Microsoft embarks on a series of sneaky manoeuvre aimed at achieving this over a period of several years” writes Sweeney.
This day has been approaching for over than 18 months, and I need to give credit to Microsoft folks, especially Phil Spencer, for always being willing to listen to Epic’s concerns with UWP’s paradigm, and to proposed solutions. Because they listened very patiently, I hoped and believed that Microsoft would do the right thing, but here we are. Microsoft’s consumer launch and PR around UWP are in full swing, and this side of the story must be told.
Microsoft’s intentions must be judged by Microsoft’s actions, not Microsoft’s words. Their actions speak plainly enough: they are working to turn today’s open PC ecosystem into a closed, Microsoft-controlled distribution and commerce monopoly, over time, in a series of steps of which we’re seeing the very first. Unless Microsoft changes course, all of the independent companies comprising the PC ecosystem have a decision to make: to oppose this, or cede control of their existing customer relationships and commerce to Microsoft’s exclusive control.
As there is much more in the original article, we suggest you read it right here.
That Microsoft aims big with their Universal Windows Platform is one thing that is certain. Games that were previously presented as Xbox exclusive, will now also be released for Windows 10 as well. Microsoft wants to make their universal platform, the “The Ultimate Console & PC Development Platform. During the Game Developers Conference this year, Microsoft is organizing several sessions about their ‘ultimate’ universal platform.
What are your thoughts on Sweeney’s article? Do you tend to agree? How do you feel about Microsoft’s UWP in general? Hit the comments.