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Microsoft unveils new app store guidelines as it woos regulators on deal – Metro US

Microsoft unveils new app store guidelines as it woos regulators on deal

FILE PHOTO: Microsoft buys Activision, in New York City
FILE PHOTO: Microsoft buys Activision, in New York City

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Microsoft Corp on Wednesday announced a new set of principles for its app store, including open access to developers who meet privacy and security standards, as it began a push to win approval for its blockbuster acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker https://www.reuters.com/technology/microsoft-buy-activision-blizzard-deal-687-billion-2022-01-18 Activision Blizzard Inc.

The $68.7 billion purchase, announced last month, was the biggest gaming industry deal in history.

Microsoft will file for approval of the deal in 17 jurisdictions, the company’s president, Brad Smith, told reporters on Wednesday.

Smith said he had previewed the app store policies with U.S. lawmakers and received “a positive reaction.” He did not identify the lawmakers.

“Our goal is to build what’s called a universal store for games,” he added. “In other words, a store that anyone can access on any device on any platform to purchase or download any game that a developer chooses.”

Rules for the app store were modeled on antitrust legislation under consideration by the United States and other countries, Microsoft said in a blog post.

“We have developed these principles in part to address Microsoft’s growing role and responsibility as we start the process of seeking regulatory approval in capitals around the world for our acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” the company said in the posting.

Other commitments made by Microsoft in the blog post were that its own apps in its store would be held to the same standard as apps from competitors, and that it would not use non-public information from its app store to compete with rivals.

It also committed to refraining from “unreasonable preferencing or ranking” of Microsoft apps over others.

Congress is now considering bills that would ban Big Tech platforms like Amazon.com Inc and others from giving preference to their own products. Another measure would bar big app stores, like Apple Inc’s, from requiring app providers to use the platform’s payment system and prohibit them from punishing apps that offer different prices through another app store or payment system.

Smith was in Washington on Wednesday along with Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella and Sarah Bond, vice president of the game ecosystem for Xbox.

With the Activision deal, Microsoft will take on industry leaders Tencent and Sony. Sony Interactive Entertainment recently said it would buy Bungie Inc, creator of the “Halo” videogame, in a deal valued at $3.6 billion.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in WashingtonEditing by Matthew Lewis)

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