Microsoft purges Windows Store of "misleading" apps

Microsoft has already thrown out 1,500 apps for not complying with new naming standards

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 28, 2014
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The Windows Store has a lot going against it, it seems. Not only is it an also-ran right now, behind the App Store and Google Play, making it so that it has a harder time getting developers to create apps for it, but there is even a more insidious problem: it is full of useless junk as well.

The second issue is one that, I'm sure, cannot be helping the first problem at all. I mean, why should a developer want to put their app out into a store with a bunch of clones, where it will most likely be drowned out?

Now Microsoft is going to do something about it: the company announced on Tuesday that it will be cracking down on apps in the Windows Store that it has labeled as "misleading," and detrimental to the customer experience.

Right now, the Windows Store is full of apps that are clones of better-known ones, causing users to either have a hard time finding the apps that they were looking for, or it is making them "sort through lists of apps with confusing or misleading titles," Todd Brix, General Manager, Windows Apps and Store at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

"Every app store finds its own balance between app quality and choice, which in turn opens the door to people trying to game the system with misleading titles or descriptions," he said. "Our approach has long been to create and enforce strong but transparent policies to govern our certification and store experience."

So, in response to the problem, the company has done just that. It revealed that it has updated its Windows Store app certification requirements in order to create a better environment. The changes include having every app named so that it will "clearly and accurately reflect the functionality of the app."

Apps also now have to be "categorized according to the app function and purpose," and their icons "must be differentiated to avoid being mistaken with others."

While this obviously applies to all new apps coming into the Store, it also applies to existing ones as well. While Brix says that most developers are already complying, some have not, leading Microsoft to already remove over 1,500 apps, with more potentially to come.

If you are a Windows Phone user, and one of the apps you paid for is deleted, Microsoft says it will be refunding that money.

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