Microsoft says that it’s already planning for a new app store of sorts that will be available on iPhone and iPad from 2024. That’s assuming Apple is forced to open things up to non-App Store downloads, that is.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Microsoft Gaming chief Phil Spencer said that the company intends to be “in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners across any screen where somebody would want to play.”
Spencer believes that the Digital Markets Act, which kicks in from 2024 in the European Union, will force Apple to allow third-party app stores onto the iPhone and iPad. There’s no guarantee that will actually happen, but the possibility is undoubtedly there.
“The Digital Markets Act that’s coming – those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” Spencer reportedly said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity.”
Apple famously wouldn’t allow Microsoft to put a launcher for the Xbox Cloud Gaming service into the App Store leaving Microsoft to use a web app instead. But a third-party app store would mean that Microsoft would be able to do whatever it wanted, and Apple wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Microsoft is currently fighting on another front, too. While it wants Apple to open up, it’s being accused of anticompetitive behavior itself. A Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being checked by governments around the world, with some concerned that it would give Microsoft an unfair advantage over competing platforms from the likes of Sony and Nintendo.
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