Microsoft president says App Store business model must be investigated

Antitrust issues? Microsoft president says App Store business model must be investigated


Microsoft Windows
Microsoft went through its own antitrust case in the early 2000s.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith has seemingly joined the number of voices criticizing Apple for taking a 30% cut of app revenue.

The Microsoft executive said that the policy is far more anti-competitive than the complaints that led to the Microsoft antitrust case of the early 2000s. The antitrust case against Microsoft helped reshape the tech landscape 20 years ago.

In a recent Politico Live interview, Smith said “the time has come” for investigating these “prices and the tolls that are being extracted” from devs.

Smith did not mention Apple by name. However, his comments come at a time when Apple is under increased scrutiny for its App Store behavior. Last week, the European Union opened an official investigation into the App Store.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the developers of newly launched email service Hey accused Apple of behaving like “gangsters” by threatening to remove their app if they don’t start selling subscriptions through the App Store. Hey sold subscriptions to its $99 a year service through its website, with the iOS app simply offering a sign-in page for existing subscribers.

Microsoft and beyond: App Store criticisms

The Guardian, which reported on the story Sunday, cited another interview with a developer making a similar complaint to Hey. The article claims that that “changes [Apple] forced on them have hurt their reputation, hurt their revenue, and made it much easier for pirates to rip off their product.”

In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Apple SVP Phil Schiller said that, “there’s not any changes to the rules that we are considering.”

Monday marks Apple’s WWDC keynote. It will be interesting to see whether Apple acknowledges the recent complaints during its virtual-only event. Even if that just means making an impassioned argument on behalf of the distribution service it provides to developers around the world. Alternatively, it might simply ignore it altogether.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.