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Microsoft weeds the Windows Store before Windows 10 launch

by Mark Tyson on 28 May 2015, 11:03

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 10

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Microsoft has started to weed out apps from its Windows Store app catalogue. With immediate effect the corporation has updated its certification policy (Policy 10.1) to enforce "a more robust approach," to the software that can be listed in the Windows Store. New and existing apps will be assessed and apps that don't comply, by providing "Distinct Function & Value; Accurate Representation", will be removed and the developers informed. The hope is to improve the Windows Store experience for both customers and developers.

In an official Microsoft blog post Bernardo Zamora outlines the criteria upon which apps will be judged. There are four areas of focus for this Windows Store cleanup effort, as follows:

  • Eliminating app clutter
  • Ensuring apps are appropriately priced
  • Distinguishing informational apps
  • Ensuring relevant app titles and keywords

In the rather general sounding 'Eliminating app clutter' area Microsoft will ensure that developers use unique icons and app titles that match the content. Also any apps "that do not offer unique content, creative value or utility," may be removed from the catalogue. A particular mention is made of flashlight apps which clutter every platform out there.

Pricing will be scrutinised by Microsoft to assess whether it is fair. Higher priced apps may be removed from the Store if they are deemed not to offer superior functionality or value says Microsoft.

It's important for informational or reference apps to distinguish themselves from associated functional apps (e.g. a game), thinks Microsoft. Such apps should be easily recognisable via a textual 'GUIDE', 'TUTORIAL' or similar masthead.

Apps in the store must have relevant titles or keywords. It has been noted that some developers use popular keywords that are often irrelevant to the app functionality to boost its presence in store searches. Such apps may now be pruned from the store.

The above certification policy updates are in addition to the intellectual property compliance guidelines which seek to prevent app authors 'stealing' app ideas, content and so on to replicate successful apps. Overall it's a good move for Microsoft which with the introduction of the Windows Store focussed for a lengthy period upon quantity over quality.

As a reminder, Windows 10 for PCs and tablets is expected to ship this summer. Last month Microsoft started to roll out a unified (multi-platform) Windows 10 Store for Insiders which included apps, movies, TV shows and music.

HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Is there anything left on there now?
Is there anything left on there now?
I know what you mean. Found I have ~Ā£2 worth of microsoft credit converted from some old xbox credits I had. Couldn't find a single thing to buy… (Reasonable number of decent free app/games but very few games in that price range). Don't think I was picky either. Still I think they are taking the right approach.
Well, some of what MS are apparently doing I wholeheartedly approve of. For instance, pruning apps using misleading or irrelevant keywords just to boost search results. That, in my view, is a disgraceful and dishonest practice that does USERS a disservice, and wastes our time, just like it does when websites do it. It typifies the very worst aspects of advertising. If MS put a stop to that trend by oruning such apps, more power to them.

Some other aspects, though, like pruning things that aren't original or creative, well, that's FAR trickier. First, it's very subjective, but second, it's wide open to interpretation. And potentially anti-competitive.

For instance, how ‘original’ are competing antivirus apps, or weather apps, or <insert huge list here>.

Many times, I've tried several similar apps, or applications, before settling on brand A over brand B, and sometimes for hard to define reasons, like I just like the way it works, because it suits me. An example would be I like the way the traditional Windows start button menus work. I do not, (and regulars may have observed this ;) ) repeat NOT like the way Win8 MUI subverted and replaced that.

So that sort of “pruning” is very subjective indeed.

Of course, for me, it's largely academic because what I want from Windows is the traditional “desktop and full application” model, with me getting apps from wherever I want, not from an MS store anyway. Any Windows OS, now or future, that does not allow me to do that is of zero interest to me, and I won't be using it. And for any version of Windows that does allow me to source and install what I want, that's what I will be doing, not using the MS store. So what is or isn't in the store doesn't really interest me at all, other than theoretically.
I want a version of windows with no stupid “App” anything! I want to use my computer like a computer, not an overgrown, immobile mobile phone with a mouse and keyboard :P
I want a version of windows with no stupid “App” anything! I want to use my computer like a computer, not an overgrown, immobile mobile phone with a mouse and keyboard :P

Then don't install any apps? Problem solved.