Monday, December 13, 2021

Microsoft xCloud App Store Negotiations

Sean Hollister (Reddit, MacRumors):

Remember when Apple pretended like it would let cloud gaming services like Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia into the App Store, while effectively tearing their business models to shreds? Know how Microsoft replied that forcing gamers to download hundreds of individual apps to play a catalog of cloud games would be a bad experience?

In reality, Microsoft was willing to play along with many of Apple’s demands — and it even offered to bring triple-A, Xbox-exclusive games to iPhone to help sweeten the deal. That’s according to a new set of private emails that The Verge unearthed in the aftermath of the Epic v. Apple trial.


Where did negotiations break down? Microsoft now tells The Verge that Apple was actually the one that rejected its proposals — because Apple insisted on forcing each and every game to include the full streaming stack and wouldn’t agree to anything else.


And Apple tells The Verge that money was indeed involved. “Unfortunately, Microsoft proposed a version of xCloud that was not compliant with our App Store Review Guidelines, specifically the requirement to use in-app purchase to unlock additional features or functionality within an app,” reads a statement via Apple spokesperson Adam Dema.

It seems like a contradiction when Choudhry says that Microsoft’s proposal was “designed to comply with App Store policies” when it depended on a shared framework system that was only hypothetical.

Matt Birchler:

Anyway, I have questions how this would have worked, but no matter the answers, I think that this is another example of the App Store model where everything is a siloed app, is showing constrictions that are incompatible with some more bleeding edge software. Apple adapted the App Store to work as SAAS took over paid-up-front priciung models, and I hope they can evolve it again to better-accomadate app paradigms that customers want, but don’t fit nicely into the “every app is a silo” model.

Michael Love:

The most obvious evidence that Apple wields something like monopoly power with regard to iOS is that they can get away with blocking extremely cool + exciting new apps and not worry that those missing apps might drive people to use a competing platform or store.


If Microsoft had had the sort of anti-competitive free rein in the late ’90s that Apple has now, they wouldn’t have had to resort to giving IE away for free / giving it special low-level access to Windows / bullying OEMs / etc; they would have just blocked Netscape altogether.

“Customers choose Windows for its security and privacy protection. If we permitted third-party web browsers like Netscape, it would make Windows worse for everyone; even users who prefer to remain with safe, reliable Internet Explorer might be forced to install Netscape.”

“It’s much too risky to entrust your sensitive financial data to a third-party app like Quicken or MYOB, which is why Microsoft Money is the only supported accounting software on Windows. However, third party developers are welcome to develop Microsoft Money extensions.”


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Well, I bought an NVIDIA Shield specifically to run xCloud, and I think Apple lost a major opportunity to have people use iOS and tvOS devices to access streaming services…

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