Apple recently revealed a new plan to follow European Union digital market rules. The plan takes effect in March 2023. However, major competitors like Microsoft, Epic Games, and Spotify strongly oppose it. They view Apple’s proposal as unfair and limiting.
The regulation aims to promote app store and payment choices on iPhones. But rivals say Apple’s approach still restricts options versus Android’s more open model. Tensions are rising as Apple seeks compliance while competitors demand broader reform.
What does Apple’s new plan consist of?
Apple’s plan involves a new “Core Technology Fee” for EU developers using third-party app stores. Developers must pay Apple €0.50 per app install after 1 million downloads annually.
Additionally, Apple will still charge a 17% commission if developers use outside payment systems.
Apple says the fee covers core technology costs like the operating system, developer tools, support, and security. They argue the plan provides more choice/flexibility and follows EU rules.
However, critics say Apple still creates barriers versus Android’s open app ecosystem. And that the company continues overcharging developers.
Why is Microsoft opposed to Apple’s plan?
Microsoft believes Apple’s plan is a step backward. Xbox head Sarah Bond tweeted concerns, hoping Apple listens to feedback for a more inclusive future.
Bond now oversees the Xbox platform and hardware as Microsoft plans to launch its mobile app store. The Xbox store aims to challenge Apple and Google’s dominance, featuring Activision Blizzard content like Call of Duty Mobile and Candy Crush Saga.
Last year, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer called the EU Digital Markets Act a major opportunity for the Xbox store. Microsoft seems intent on providing an alternative app ecosystem amidst regulatory pressure on Apple.
What do other actors in the sector think?
Microsoft isn’t the only firm denouncing Apple’s proposal. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney blasted the plan as “hot trash”, calling it “perverse” enforcement. Sweeney previously battled Apple’s legal overpayment policies.
Music streamer Spotify also accused Apple of “extortion” with its new fees, urging EU action. The European Commission says it will respond once rules take effect in March, promising “strong action” if Apple’s solutions fall short.
Microsoft’s opposition could also complicate an Xbox Cloud Gaming iOS app. Though Apple just opened its store to cloud gaming, its EU policy could impose barriers.
Rivals like Nvidia hoped to access iOS users, but Apple requires each title to be a separate reviewed app. Under the new rules, these services may pay extra fees and share more revenue for iOS access.
The tensions highlight Apple is seeking compliance while developers want meaningful reform. Microsoft and others may continue challenging restrictions in court and through regulators without meaningful concessions.