Apple’s App Store Policies Are Now Making Microsoft Angry, Too

Aug 7, 2020
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Apple's App Store policies continue to be under fire from all directions. Last month, the European Union began antitrust investigations into the many limitations posed to any kind of app that wants to get on the store.

The latest disgruntled party is none other than Microsoft, which recently had to pull its cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, from iOS as it nears the official launch on Android. In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson for the Windows and Xbox company said:

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Our testing period for the Project xCloud preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple App Store. Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, a notorious critic of the App Store policies, didn't wait long before chiming in on Twitter. He pointed out that all cloud gaming services such as Project xCloud, Google Stadia, NVIDIA's GeForce NOW, as well as games focused on user-generated content like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox, are inexplicably outlawed on Apple's ecosystem.

For its part, Apple shared the following statement with Business Insider:

The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.

Our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers, and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search. In addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store.

We'll keep you updated on any development regarding this industry-wide struggle with Apple.

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