When Epic Games, Spotify and other giants of the computer market announced the establishment of the Coalition of App Fairness (CAF), Microsoft was not on the coalition list. This was surprising, because in August the Redmond giant issued a declaration in which he supported Epic Games’ position against – as the Tim Sweney company wants – unfair practices applied by the Apple store. But apparently Microsoft took CAF passwords to heart. Business published a list of ten Microsoft Store policies to promote choice and innovation, and to ensure fair treatment of Windows 10 app developers. The rules were developed based on the CAF postulates, with the entry on the Microsoft blog stating that the company may introduce changes in the future. We have included the translation of the rules below.

10 Microsoft Store rules:

1. Developers will be free to choose whether they want to distribute their Windows applications via the Microsoft Store. Microsoft will not block competing app stores on its operating systems.

2. Microsoft will not block Windows applications because of the developer’s business model or the way they deliver content and services (whether new content is installed on the device or streaming in the cloud).

3. Microsoft will not block the application on Windows based on the payment system from the application level used by the developer.

4. Microsoft will make information on interoperability interfaces available to developers in due course used in Windows in accordance with the Interoperability Principles;

5. Each developer will be granted access to the Microsoft Store subject to objective standards and requirements, including those relating to security, privacy, quality, content, and digital security.

6. The Microsoft Store will charge reasonable fees reflecting competition from other Windows app stores. Nor will it force developers to sell unwanted content as part of their applications.

7. The Microsoft Store will not prevent developers from communicating directly with users through their applications for legitimate business purposes.

8. Microsoft Store will maintain identical standards in its applications.

9. Microsoft will not use any non-public information or application data from the Microsoft Store to compete with them.

10. Microsoft Store will be transparent in terms of rules and regulations, as well as promotion and marketing opportunities. Microsoft will apply them consistently and objectively, communicate changes, and ensure a fair trial in resolving disputes.

In brief

Essentially, the rules set out by Microsoft come down to two points. The first four points give studios the freedom to choose how to distribute the application. The others are to ensure that Microsoft will not use its influence to provide an advantage to its own products or impose anything on the developers. This coincides with the CAF accusations against Apple, although malicious ones could point out that the rules also hit Epic Games. The company is known for the practice of buying exclusive games for its own store. By contrast, the point of charging “reasonable fees” may refer to the 30% margin that Tim Sweney’s company has long protested against.

Xbox unchanged

Interestingly, Microsoft will not apply these rules to the Xbox store. This is due to the nature of consoles as “specialized devices”, not comparable in size to personal computers and mobile platforms, and sold below production costs. In the context of this “different business model”, Microsoft felt that it would have to develop somewhat different rules. For now, we can enjoy the new Microsoft Store interface on Xbox.

The Xbox Store will see many changes, but there will be time for new, more honest rules.

  • Microsoft’s official website

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