Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney is the latest to heap scorn on Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform. In an op-ed in the Guardian newspaper this morning, Sweeney expresses concern that the UWP and the Windows Store is a first step "towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolising app distribution and commerce." He also says "if Microsoft does not commit to opening PC UWP up in the manner described here, then PC UWP can, should, must and will, die as a result of industry backlash."
Sweeney points out that Microsoft has launched new Windows features exclusively under the UWP. He says most games and applications—most notably Steam—can't take advantage of those features because older software uses the Win32 API. According to Sweeney, that means those platforms could be left twisting in the wind should Microsoft decide to neglect that API in favor of UWP going forward.
Microsoft has every right to have its own store, Sweeney says, but he wants to make sure Windows is a level playing field. To make that happen, he says it should be possible for users to download UWP apps from the web. He also wants any company to have the ability to operate a store for UWP apps, just as Valve operates Steam for Win32 apps today. Finally, he wants users, developers and publishers to have the ability to engage in commerce directly with each other without any Microsoft involvement.
Sweeney's rather blunt indictment of the UWP comes after it has recently received truckloads of criticism due to performance problems and technical issues.
UPDATE 3/4/2016 at 11:30 AM: Microsoft's Phil Spencer has taken to Twitter in an apparent response to Sweeney's criticisms:
Windows has always been an open ecosystem welcoming the contributions of hardware and software partners, and will always continue to be.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 4, 2016
UWP is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, and can be supported by any store. Broad range of tools https://t.co/LqPcjRFzu9— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 4, 2016
We will discuss our next steps with the Universal Windows Platform at //build later this month.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 4, 2016
Sweeney has also responded to Spencer's Tweets with one of his own:
I like the sound of this, and look forward to thorough technical details on UWP's planned openness at //build. https://t.co/9oitPe3DuM— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) March 4, 2016