Xbox president thinks Apple's EU App Store plan is 'a step in the wrong direction'

Apple's critics are denouncing the changes it's making to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act.

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Apple recently announced the changes it's making to the App Store in order to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) that goes into full effect on March 7. The company's critics quickly denounced its plans and requirements for alternative app stores, with Spotify calling the changes a "total farce." Microsoft's Xbox is one of the latest companies to call out Apple's compliance plans. In response to a post on X by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talking about the changes at Apple, Xbox president Sarah Bond said the company's new policy is "a step in the wrong direction" and that she hopes it listens to feedback to create a "more inclusive future for all."

Under DMA rules, platform owners like Apple and Google have to open up their systems to competing app stores. Apple, however, requires these alternative app stores to have stringent rules and moderation tools comparable to its own. Their operators will also need to be able to prove that they have access to a minimum amount of around $1.1 million in credit that they can use to pay developers. Apple has a new rule for developers, as well, requiring them to pay a Core Technology Fee of €0.50 (around 54 cents) per install after an app reaches a 1 million download threshold for the year. That rule applies whether the app is distributed through Apple's App Store or through an alternative marketplace.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said Apple's plan "is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance." He added that Apple is essentially forcing developers to choose between App Store exclusivity and a new "also-illegal anticompetitive scheme rife with new Junk Fees on downloads," as well as new taxes on payments the company doesn't process itself. The App Store is a massive business for Apple, which takes a 15 to 30 percent commission from developers' earnings. For the fiscal year of 2022, for instance, Apple said the App Store ecosystem "facilitated $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales."

Epic pulled Fortnite from the App Store in 2020 after violating its rules on purpose and offering discounts to players making purchases outside of Apple's ecosystem. The developer recently announced that it's bringing Fortnite back to the iPhone and iPad in Europe this year after the DMA takes effect and that it's launching its own store for iOS. Spotify, which has also been a vocal critic of Apple, plans to launch its own in-app payment system for iOS users in Europe, as well.

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