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How can app stores be more open? Microsoft proposes a few ideas but doesn’t want to adopt them all right away

All the principles except the ones pertaining to developers’ choice apply to Xbox from today.

Microsoft on February 9 announced a set of open app store principles for its Windows app store and future game console marketplace. Sideloading (that is, allowing app downloads from outside the official app store) and letting developers use alternative payment systems are part of these principles. However, there are some important caveats: The Microsoft Store on Windows has adopted many of these principles last year including allowing third-party apps stores and letting developers use their own payment systems, so there's relatively little new on that front. The Xbox game store, which is the bigger of the two stores and Microsoft's cash cow, will only adopt some of these principles immediately. A notable exclusion is the one that allows developers to use alternative payment systems. We know nothing about the future games marketplace that Microsoft says will include all these principles. Microsoft's Xbox game store charges the same 30 percent commission as Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but the latter two have been under immense regulatory scrutiny around the world, including India. But now that Microsoft is looking to get regulatory approval for its $69 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition, it is preemptively proposing changes that will allay competition concerns. "We have developed these principles in part to address Microsoft’s growing role and responsibility as we start the process of seeking regulatory approval in capitals around the world for our acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This regulatory process begins while many governments are also moving forward with new laws to promote competition in app markets and beyond. We…

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