After running Project xCloud in preview on iOS during this year, in August Microsoft pulled the plug on its game streaming platform for iPhone and iPad users. At the time, the company felt Apple's App Store restrictions meant xCloud is unworkable on iOS. However, Microsoft may have found a way to bring the service to the platform in 2021.
According to Business Insider, sources close to Microsoft say the company will use a loophole to bring Project xCloud to iPhones. Specifically, the Redmond will deliver the service to iOS users through a web browser version.
The news comes following Xbox chief Phil Spencer reportedly saying: “We absolutely will end up on iOS,” in reference to xCloud.
It is unclear how Apple would react to such a move, although the company would probably be powerless to stop it. Cupertino is currently locked in a legal battle with Epic Games over the developer allowing users to purchase items for Fortnite through the web.
Battling Apple's Rules
This resulted in Apple banning the popular game from the App Store. Considering Project xCloud is not on the App Store, the company could not take similar action. It also seems very unlikely Apple would ban other Microsoft apps in retaliation considering how important those services are.
In August, Microsoft stopped developing its Project xCloud preview on iOS, largely blaming Apple's practices for the decision. The company feels Apple's strict revenue rules make xCloud impossible on the App Store.
Furthermore, Microsoft has become increasingly vocal about those rules. As well as backing Epic Games, Microsoft President and Chief Counsel Brad Smith suggested Apple was creating a monopoly by charging developers 30% of their revenue on the App Store.
When Smith spoke in front of the United States House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee in July, he named Apple directly.