Apple CEO Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • The European Commission has stated it's "aware" of recent antitrust concerns raised by Microsoft and Facebook over Apple's App Store policies.
  • It follows Apple's recent decision to double down on App Store restrictions, preventing Xbox's Project xCloud cloud gaming services from launching on iOS.
  • Microsoft claims that "Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass."

The recent dust-up between Apple and Microsoft over Project xCloud, which saw the iPhone-maker actively withholding the Xbox game-streaming platform, has drawn the attention of the European Union. It comes as Apple enforces restrictive policies on software distributed through its iOS App Store, with concerns raised by Microsoft and Facebook over gaming content.

Microsoft first kicked back at Apple's tight grip on its App Store on Thursday, claiming Cupertino continues to "deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services" on its devices. That follows the company recently ending tests for its Project xCloud cloud gaming tech on iOS over hard limitations stifling its mobile rollout. The Project xCloud for Android release remains on schedule, headed to its Xbox Game Pass app on September 15 for Ultimate-tier subscribers.

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The European Commission has now caught wind of both cases, as reported by Reuters. "The Commission is aware of these concerns regarding Apple's App Store rules," said Commission spokeswoman Arianna Podesta. No further details were provided.

Xbox Project xCloud TabletSource: Microsoft

Apple has held its ground, raising concern over its inability to regulate the service, mandating that Microsoft lists all Xbox One games individually, with a manual review process for approval. That could also see Apple take up to a 30% cut on subscriptions, due to its mandatory revenue share policy for on-device payments. Facebook also voiced similar concerns over the treatment of Facebook Gaming, axing playable in-app games after multiple rejections from Apple.

Recent comments from Microsoft and Facebook may feed into current EU antitrust investigations challenging Apple and its oversight of its App Store. The European Commission pledged to take a closer look at the marketplace and internal practices in June, including its requirement to use in-house payment systems.

The Commission's comments follow a U.S. antitrust hearing last month, which saw leadership from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google questioned over separate claims of anti-competitive practices.

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