90s in reverse? Gone are the days when Microsoft used to be active in the mobile space with its very own app store to house applications for the Windows Phone platform.
Nowadays, Redmond is more focused on bringing its software and services to all imaginable platforms. And that means publishing these apps in stores that are operated by the likes of Google and Apple, to name a few.
That’s all well and good — except for the high fees part.
Microsoft president Brad Smith, speaking at a Politico event, put his weight behind the fact that antitrust watchdogs in Europe and the United States should look into the matter, as agreeing with the fees is often the only way to be on that platform.
Apple, for example, charges developers up to 30% to have their apps published in the App Store, and this is something that has attracted criticism from several other large companies.
Smith was quoted as saying:
“They impose requirements that increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created.
In some cases, they create a very high price per toll – in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper. The time has come – whether we are talking about D.C. or Brussels – for a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created.”
Microsoft, for its part, is one of the largest iOS developers now, and the apps that it has made available on the App Store are among the most popular on the platform, with hundreds of millions of downloads.
But even it is feeling the heat.
These are interesting developments at an even more interesting time, as Apple is currently in hot waters, a couple of days ahead of its annual developer conference.
Not only are iOS developers that have had their apps refused a place in the App Store now speaking up, the EU announced earlier this week that it is starting proceedings on an antitrust investigation into the company’s restrictive App Store rules.
Fascinating to see how Apple and Microsoft’s situations have reversed in 25 years. The Windows maker also went through a much-publicized antitrust battle in the 90s due to the dominance of the OS on the PC market.