Apple and Microsoft could reboot rivalry in AR and VR segments

The news: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella launched Windows 11 last week and fired a shot across Apple’s bow, per The Wall Street Journal. “The world needs a more open platform—one that allows apps to become platforms in their own right,” Nadella said during Microsoft’s virtual event. Apple’s tight controls over its App Store ostensibly feature more privacy and security, but developers like Facebook and Epic Games claim the company monopolizes access to iPhone users.

Why it's worth watching: Apple and Microsoft are two of the world’s most valuable companies with very different approaches to curating app stores. Apple, which takes 15–30% commission from developers, runs a notoriously tight App Store. Microsoft, which has no mobile app store, announced it would let all nongaming developers keep all their Windows app store revenues.

The bigger picture: Apple and Microsoft see a future in AR and VR hardware and experiences and need developers to create content for future headsets. Each company’s app store approach today could influence where platform developers gravitate toward in the XR future.