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Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

Redmond responds: Our OS is so great!

The founder of Epic Games says that Microsoft is trying to lock Windows developers into using its app store for all their products.

Tim Sweeney reckons the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a power-grab from Redmond to force software companies into selling their work applications solely through the Windows Store.

"Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games," Sweeney writes.

Unveiled in 2015, UWP allows developers to create applications that will run smoothly across the desktop, tablet and mobile versions of Windows: a single Visual Studio project can target multiple platforms, with the builds delivered to users through Microsoft's own Windows Store.

While Microsoft says that the aim of the platform is to simplify software development and compatibility, Sweeney charges that UWP, and the unique Windows features it gives access to, will also kill off third-party software stores and developers who want to directly sell their software without paying Microsoft a 30 per cent cut.

"The ultimate danger here is that Microsoft continually improves UWP while neglecting and even degrading win32, over time making it harder for developers and publishers to escape from Microsoft's new UWP commerce monopoly," he said.

"Ultimately, the open win32 Windows experience could be relegated to Enterprise and Developer editions of Windows."

El Reg reached out to Microsoft for a response to Sweeney's editorial and received the following info‑belch:

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.

We want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used, and offer tools to help developers with existing code bases of HTML/JavaScript, .NET and Win32, C+ + and Objective-C bring their code to Windows, and integrate UWP capabilities. With Xamarin, UWP developers can not only reach all Windows 10 devices, but they can now use a large percentage of their C# code to deliver fully native mobile app experiences for iOS and Android. We'll have more to share at Build.

Make of that what you will. ®

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