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Microsoft Takes Epic's Side In Fight With Apple

Image via Windows on Unsplash

As a result of Fortnite creator Epic Games' attempt to take on Apple over its App Store policies, the Coalition for App Fairness was formed last month to "create a level playing field for app businesses and give people freedom of choice on their devices."

The Coalition, which was formed by Epic and twelve other app publishers, lists 10 "App Store Principles" that it believes should be adhered to throughout the industry.

The Coalition gained their biggest supporter yet yesterday when Microsoft announced in a blog post that it will adopt its own principles that build on the ideas and work of the Coalition for App Fairness to make its app store a more open platform.

"We and others have raised questions and, at times, expressed concerns about app stores on other digital platforms. However, we recognize that we should practice what we preach," wrote Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Rima Alaily. "So, today, we are adopting 10 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."

Among the principles are Microsoft's pledge to not block competing app stores on Windows and not block an app from Windows based on a developer's choice of which payment system to use for in-app purchases. Microsoft will review the principles occasionally to determine if they should be expanded or changed to reflect feedback as well as technology, business or regulatory developments.

Although Microsoft's blog post doesn't explicitly name Apple, the company is clearly taking a stand against its rival over its app store policies.

The move comes just a few days after the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released its 450-page report on technology giants, saying "Companies that were once scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons."

"But the innovation that drives the app economy also needs healthy and vibrant digital platforms," Alaily wrote. "We know that regulators and policymakers are reviewing these issues and considering legal reforms to promote competition and innovation in digital markets. We think the CAF principles, and our implementation of them, can serve as productive examples."

As Microsoft is the first major technology company to stand by the Coalition, it will be interesting to see if other companies join them or stand by Apple.

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