Rough seas are ahead
Epic Games boss, Tim Sweeney has voiced some serious concerns with regards to Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP), in an editorial in the UK newspaper The Guardian.
In the editorial, Sweeney accuses Microsoft of trying to use a new program standard built into Windows 10 to turn the operating system into a monopolistic “wallet garden” due to the nature of the Window Store. Sweeney writes that the new Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to create a single program that has the ability to run on a number of different Windows platforms such as tablets, PCs and phone, is a “closed platform-within-a-platform.” Sweeney said Microsoft was always willing to listen, but never acted on his concerns and so decided to write the letter as a response to Microsoft’s aggressive efforts to market the Windows Store.
Sweeney states that the way Microsoft is launching Windows features which exist exclusively in the UWP scheme is “effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP escosystem.” He goes on to say “They’re curtailing users’ freedom to install full-featured PC software, and subverting the rights of developers and publishers to maintain a direct relationship with their customers.”
However, Sweeney does realize the pros of having a UWP, as it prevents people from misusing the current system by injecting malware into computers. His issues are not directly with the UWP itself, but more about the way in which Microsoft is using it. “The specific problem here is that Microsoft’s shiny new ‘Universal Windows Platform’ is locked down, and by default it’s impossible to download UWP apps from the websites of publishers and developers, to install them, update them, and conduct commerce in them outside of the Windows Store.”
Arguably, Sweeney has a point to be frustrated by this. By having to put software on the Windows Store, developers and publishers are automatically signing away 30% of the sales for that program. Not to mention Microsoft then becomes the moderator for any UWP apps that can be installed on their systems. This, in turn, could be used to prevent any future online marketplaces that could compete with the Windows Store from being installed onto any device running the Windows 10 OS.
Microsoft corporate Vice President of Windows, Kevin Gallo, issued the following statement to The Guardian in response to the editorial it ran:
“The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store.We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required.
What used to be a close relationship between Epic Games and Microsoft looks to be going through a little bit of turbulence. We’ll keep you updated on any further developments in the story.