Microsoft could dare Apple to change its most controversial app policy

A leak of Microsoft's plans for its next major Windows 10 update suggest they'll allow developers to bypass in-app commerce sharing. In effect, Microsoft would not be taking a percentage of in-app purchases from apps made by developers that use their own 3rd-party in-app commerce system. This would be the first time a major app store would allow such a thing on their own operating system's official app store.

Per a Windows Central tip, this update for the new "Store" in Windows 10 would be delivered with the Windows 10 "Sun Valley" update for 2021.* Along with relaxed in-app commerce policies, Microsoft is tipped to be expanding the ways in which an app can be submitted to the Store. Per the sources speaking with Windows Central, three major changes will be made to the store in addition to a total redesign of the UI of the store itself.

The new store would allow developers to submit "unpackaged Win32 apps" to the Store. This set of tips suggests that developers would be able to host apps and updates "on their own content delivery network." And the biggest change – depending on your perspective – is a new allowance for developers to use third-party commerce platforms inside their apps.

Allowing apps to use their own 3rd-party commerce system in their apps could change the way the industry handles app stores in general. We've witnessed controversy since the beginning of mobile app stores with the ways in which major companies have handled taking their cut of the profits with in-app purchases.

Take for example the documentation revealed in the ongoing battle between Apple and Epic Games with respect to Fortnite, in-app purchases, Apple's cut, and the Apple App Store. In December of 2020, Apple released a system with which developers could apply for a lower rate for commissions in the App Store. Back in March of 2021, Google cut fees for digital goods and services.

If Microsoft cuts the requirement for developers to pay them any fee whatsoever for in-app commerce, other app stores may be force to follow. Or the entire system could fall on it's face – we will just have to wait and see.

*This update is expected to be available around the end of the year 2021. It's possible this whole plan could be axed before release later this year – and, to be clear, none of this is "official" from Microsoft just yet, it's still just a rumor.