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Microsoft sides with Apple critics in adopting new app store principles

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp on Thursday said it would adopt a set of 10 principles for running its app store for Windows devices that could lower the commissions it charges, aligning itself with practices promoted by a group of Apple Inc critics.

Microsoft and scores of other companies have criticized the iPhone maker’s app store practices, which require developers to use Apple’s official store to reach its hundreds of millions of users and to pay commissions of up to 30% for purchases made in Apple’s store.

Last month, a number of those critics including Spotify Technology SA and Match Group Inc formed a group called the Coalition for App Fairness to challenge Apple’s practices. The group laid out 10 principles - including barring “unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory fees or revenue shares” - that it urged all app stores to follow.

Microsoft runs an app store for PCs, laptops and tablets that use Windows 10 called the Microsoft Store. In a blog post Thursday, Microsoft said it would adopt 10 principles that closely mirrored the group’s demands but did not formally join the group.

Some of the principles will have no immediate effect other than codifying existing Microsoft practices. For example, Microsoft already allows third-party app stores and downloads from the internet on Windows devices.

But other principles - such as a commitment to “charge reasonable fees that reflect the competition we face from other app stores on Windows” - could mean changes to Microsoft’s commissions of between 15% and 30% of store purchases. Microsoft said it might revise the principles in the future.

In a statement, Spotify said that Microsoft’s new position “will help create a level playing field for developers both large and small, provide consumers with greater choice, and hopefully encourage other platforms to do the same.” (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Richard Pullin)