On September 15th, Microsoft launched a major coup in the video game business: The world’s first game streaming service with a built-in library, Netflix-style, called xCloud, it allows players to stream games to their mobile, but the catch is that it only works on Andriod, as it’s not available on Apple products.
The reason, according to the former Apple App Store director Phil Shoemaker, is because Apple’s own subscription service, Apple Arcade, is a direct competitor.
“Apple’s gaming service, Apple Arcade, is a type of app that was ‘consistently disallowed from the store,’ when offered by third-party developers, but Apple allowed its own app in the store ‘even though it violates existing [App Store] guidelines,'” this is according to an antitrust report that recounts Shoemaker’s statements to the subcommittee.
Apple Arcade is a subscription-based service that offers users access to an instant library of games across Apple devices: iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has repeatedly declined to publish similar apps from Microsoft, with Xbox Game Pass, and Google, with Google Stadia.
An Apple spokesperson said in early August that apps for those services aren’t allowed because Apple isn’t able to review each game in their libraries.
“The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider at the time. “Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.”
Shoemaker said the company implements “arbitrary” and “arguable” App Store approval guidelines, and uses its control of the App Store “as a weapon against competitors.”
The former App Store director told a House subcommittee that Apple, “has struggled with using the App Store as a weapon against competitors,” and in the case of services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia, seemingly directly to stop the competition.