Microsoft announces Open App Store Principles to promote transparency and fairness
Microsoft has announced the Open App Store Principles, a set of guidelines that will apply to the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs to promote fairness, transparency, and choice. The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Open Markets Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee just last week.
One of the big requirements of the Open Markets Act is that platforms like the Microsoft Store can’t forbid developers from using different payment systems for their apps. That’s something Microsoft had already announced it would be doing. Additionally, Microsoft won’t forbid developers from advertising different payments methods and developers won’t be required to offer more favorable terms on the Microsoft Store compared to other app stores.
This is all part of the Open Markets Act legislation, but it’s also very much in line with what Microsoft had been building up to on Windows. The company has already promised to allow other app stores to be available on the Microsoft Store, and developers can use their own monetization, too.
Aside from payments, Microsoft also wants to promote transparency and fairness in other ways. The company says it will continue to allow all developers to come into the Microsoft Store as long as they meet a reasonable level of quality and safety, and Microsoft will hold its own apps to the same standards that it uses for third-party apps so everyone competes on a level playing field. Microsoft also says it will treat all apps on the Microsoft Store equally and not give “unreasonable” preference to its own apps in rankings and promotions. The rules for marketing and promoting apps on the Microsoft Store will also be clear and transparent.
However, Microsoft was quick to clarify that the Open Markets Act does not target dedicated platforms like video game consoles. As such, the Open App Store Principles related to payments won’t apply to the Microsoft Store on Xbox, and games will still have to use Microsoft’s payment system, just as competing consoles do. As Microsoft mentions, console hardware is generally sold at a loss in order to create a viable ecosystem for developers, and revenue from digital store sales is essential for businesses to be sustainable.
Microsoft did commit to applying the same principles for transparency, fairness, and quality on the Xbox store, though, and the company says it will continue to adapt to the needs of developers and gamers.