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Microsoft, Apple feud over xCloud got Shadow pulled from the App Store

Credit: ShadowCredit: Shadow

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Microsoft's dispute with Apple over its xCloud service had collateral damage, causing another cloud computing platform getting pulled from the App Store.

A series of emails revealed during the Epic Games v. Apple trial on Tuesday offer additional details about Microsoft's attempts to get xCloud onto iOS. The emails, which were exchanged in 2020, were first spotted by The Verge.

At one point during the exchange, Microsoft offered cloud gaming service Shadow as an example of an interactive app that was allowed on the App Store. Shortly after Microsoft brought Shadow to the attention of Apple, it was pulled from the store, Microsoft's Lori Wright said in testimony on Wednesday.

"We were showing two examples where a game or an application was able to exist, and we didn't understand why we couldn't. I believe [Apple] ended up pulling Shadow out of the App Store based off this email we sent until they submitted changes," Wright said. "That was not our intention of course, it was a byproduct."

Shadow as first removed from the App Store in February 2020, and later reinstated. The service was again pulled in February 2021, but made a return a week later. Shadow later attributed the second removal to a "misunderstanding."

Unlike xCloud and other cloud streaming services, Shadow doesn't just offer a library of games. Instead, it provides users cloud-based access to a full Windows 10 PC. According to Shadow, this is what allows the service to remain on the App Store.

Apple has long restricted cloud gaming services on the App Store. Specifically, the company prohibits platforms that allow users to access other app stores.

In the second half of 2020, it loosened its rules around these types of services, allowing for "catalog" apps that point toward individual App Store listings. Microsoft, which had been trying to get xCloud on iOS, said the new rules still made for a "bad experience"

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