Apple’s proposed adjustments to comply with the European Union’s tech regulations continue to stir controversy. Following in the footsteps of Epic Games and Spotify, Microsoft has weighed in, expressing concerns about the new App Store rules, calling them “a step in the wrong direction.” (via. The Verge)
The crux of the issue lies in the newly proposed Core Technology Fee, a €0.50 charge levied on developers using third-party app stores in the EU for each annual app install exceeding 1 million downloads. Compounding this, Apple retains its 17% commission for developers opting for alternative payment processors outside the App Store’s own billing system.
Xbox President Sarah Bond took to a social media platform to voice her disapproval, urging Apple to “listen to feedback and work towards a more inclusive future for all.” This statement carries significant weight given Bond’s recent promotion to oversee all Xbox platform and hardware endeavors, just as Microsoft gears up for a potential Xbox mobile store launch.
This mobile storefront, rumored for a 2024 release, presents itself as a direct challenge to the mobile gaming duopoly of Apple and Google. Activision Blizzard titles like Call of Duty: Mobile and Candy Crush Saga are expected to anchor the Xbox mobile library, further intensifying the competitive landscape.
Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, previously hailed the EU’s Digital Markets Act as a “huge opportunity,” hinting at Microsoft’s eagerness to capitalize on the evolving regulatory landscape.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney’s reaction was far more scathing, branding Apple’s changes “hot garbage” and deeming them a “devious” attempt to circumvent the new EU regulations. Sweeney, of course, is no stranger to battling Apple over App Store policies, having spearheaded a lengthy legal battle in the US.
Adding fuel to the fire, Spotify accused Apple of “extortion” with the new App Store tax, urging EU regulators to intervene. The European Commission promised a “strong action” response if Apple’s solutions fall short of expectations when the regulations come into effect in March.
However, the implications extend beyond third-party app stores. Microsoft’s reaction potentially throws a wrench into the potential launch of an Xbox Cloud Gaming app on iOS. Though Apple opened the App Store to cloud gaming services last week, coinciding with the EU policy announcement, it remains unclear if it’s enough to appease cloud gaming giants like Nvidia and Microsoft.
In conclusion, Apple’s attempt to navigate the EU’s new tech landscape has resulted in a whirlwind of criticism, raising concerns about potential stifling regulations and unfair market practices. As industry giants join the chorus of disapproval, it remains to be seen whether Apple will adapt its approach or face consequences from regulators and consumers alike.