By John Gruber
Obsidian: the private and flexible writing app that adapts to the way you think. Sign up by Jan 1st for a special offer.
Rima Alaily, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, announcing the company’s 10 principles for the Microsoft Store on Windows:
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. 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.
Get your boots on.
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.
Windows will continue to work as Windows always has.
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.
We would sure like to get our Xbox Game Pass streaming games into a single app on iOS.
- 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.
We would sure like to drop Apple’s in-app payments from our Office apps for iOS. Can you even fucking believe we have to cut them in on these subscriptions?
We also operate a store on the Xbox console. It’s reasonable to ask why we are not also applying these principles to that Xbox store today.
We’re really in a pickle explaining this one.
Game consoles are specialized devices optimized for a particular use.
Game consoles are general purpose computers limited to particular uses by the platform owners.
Though well-loved by their fans, they are vastly outnumbered in the marketplace by PCs and phones.
We sure wish our attempts at a phone platform had taken off.
And the business model for game consoles is very different to the ecosystem around PCs or phones. Console makers such as Microsoft invest significantly in developing dedicated console hardware but sell them below cost or at very low margins to create a market that game developers and publishers can benefit from.
Game consoles are different because we own a successful game console platform.
Given these fundamental differences in the significance of the platform and the business model, we have more work to do to establish the right set of principles for game consoles.
We’re not changing anything about Xbox.
We think it is important to have a public discussion about how to fairly balance the interests of software developers and platform owners and the best path forward for app stores on our most popular platforms.
We know it’s a long shot but we’re hoping to rally public opinion to demand that Apple run iOS like a PC platform.
Apps play an important role in the daily lives of billions of consumers and help to enable the modern digital economy for millions of businesses.
There’s a lot of money at stake here and we really blew it with our attempts at a phone platform.
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. Applying these principles to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 is a first step and we look forward to feedback from developers and the broader community.
Nothing is changing on Windows, which remains every bit as open as it always has been. Nothing is changing on Xbox, which remains every bit as closed as it always has been (which is actually quite a bit more closed than even iOS). But we’re sure hoping government regulators will force Apple to open up iOS and treat it more like a PC platform where third-party developers are free to do what they want, because we know Apple won’t do it of their own volition because we wouldn’t either if we were them.