Microsoft moves to break the duopoly

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During an interview with the British newspaper The Times, one of Microsoft’s top executives spoke of the company’s desire to offer a third way in the market for smartphone applications. A project already mentioned, but that today would have the support of the competition regulatory authorities.

Xbox Universe Apps
In addition to its xCloud cloud gaming service, already available on smartphones, Microsoft wants to create its own Xbox app store. // Source: Frandroid

Faced with Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, Microsoft could well launch its own app store for smartphones. In an interview published on Saturday February 25 by the British newspaper The timesXbox president Phil Spencer confirms the company’s desire to launch a rival app store that could specialize in mobile games.

If the technology giant had already mentioned a similar project at the end of 2022, these new statements from the head of Microsoft’s gaming branch confirm this desire to shake up the duopoly of Apple and Google, which shares almost the entire pie.

An argument for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard

However, the interview was not dedicated to this topic. The times asked Phil Spencer about Microsoft’s acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard (Obligations, candy Crush Saga, world of warcraft…) for 69,000 million dollars in January 2022. A takeover contested by several government commissions that fear that Microsoft will withdraw certain very popular titles from the platforms of its competitors: Sony and Nintendo.

At the turn of the conversation, Phil Spencer denies wanting to break the current balance of competition between the three video game giants, which he considers healthy and beneficial for consumers. This is where the manager mentions the mobile market for the first time: “ I would hate to see consoles where the phones are, where there are only two actors. »

Regulators would support this approach

As we mentioned in October 2022, Microsoft wants to take advantage of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard and its essential mobile game franchises such as candy Crush Saga et Hearthstone impose a third way in the app store market. But beyond remaining in a simple metaphor of Phil Spencer to convince the opponents of the OPA, the head of Xbox confirms this project in the article of The times and affirms that Microsoft would not be alone in this process.

«We clearly have the backing of regulators when we talk about opening up the mobile market and being a credible third-party alternative on these devices, and we’re a long way from that today.says Phil Spencer.

A favorable context for new app stores

Microsoft would have solid gaming advantages if the Activision Blizzard acquisition is validated: Xbox could choose to offer its mobile games only in this new internal app store, forcing the 250 million monthly gamers ofcandy Crush Sagato use it

Especially since this eventuality is part of a context of forced opening of the market of third-party application stores, both on iOS and Android. Therefore, the support of international regulators for this project makes it more credible today.

If this Microsoft app store really sees the light of day, the challenge will be to change user habits in the long term: even if more competition could be beneficial for users, habits die hard after 15 years of dual Play Store-App Store.

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