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Facebook and Microsoft Torch Apple for iOS Gaming Platform Denials

By Eric Volkman – Aug 7, 2020 at 3:41PM

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Apple says its actions are in line with App Store guidelines in place for all developers.

Facebook (META 1.12%) and Microsoft (MSFT -2.58%) are unhappy with their big tech peer Apple (AAPL 1.55%) in relation to two of the companies' gaming platforms. On Friday, Microsoft lashed out at Apple about the latter's refusal to allow a version of its platform into the Apple iOS ecosystem.

In a statement disseminated by various media outlets, Microsoft wrote, "Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass."

Young man wearing headphones and playing a game on his phone.

Image source: Getty Images.

The Ultimate version of Xbox Game Pass is a mobile gaming subscription service similar to Apple's own offering, Apple Arcade.

The story is a bit different for Facebook Gaming, which can be considered more of a "social gaming" site, with users able to join groups and live-stream their play for others to watch... at least on devices powered by the Android operating system. In a statement published Friday, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote that, "Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple's approval on the stand-alone Facebook Gaming app -- meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android."

However, Apple says that the difficulties Microsoft, at least, is experiencing are due to an existing App Store restriction -- Apple's requirement that it review every title. Apple claims that Microsoft is not submitting each of the games on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for such review, hence the block. 

In a statement sent to Business Insider, Apple wrote that "gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search."

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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