Microsoft Will No Longer Ban Paid Open-Source Apps in its Store

Microsoft quietly revealed that it will reverse its ban of paid open-source apps in its Microsoft Store for Windows 10 and 11.

“Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) congratulates Microsoft for changing the terms of their app store to again allow commercial distribution of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS),” a SFC announcement notes. “Microsoft deleted their previously proposed text (originally slated to go into effect over the weekend) which would have prohibited ‘profit[ing] from open-source … [when that] software … is otherwise generally available for free’.”

Microsoft had intended this rule to prevent the proliferation of paid clones of free open-source apps. But the SFC had argued that the change could help prevent the distribution of open-source software through its proprietary distribution system. And that, in doing so, it would only harm open-source and the developers who support it.

Microsoft quietly delayed the policy change earlier this month when the complaints mounted. And it has now just as quietly reversed the change. Its Store policy page has been changed to “remove language related to open-source or other free software.”

“We welcome this correction to the policy,” the SFC announce adds, noting that Rafael Rivera played a key role in publicizing Microsoft’s plans. “We are glad and hopeful that Microsoft has recognized its obligations to FOSS communities which rely upon income received from selling their software, but note that Microsoft’s policy-making process in this regard creates turbulence, friction, and fear in FOSS communities.”

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Conversation 10 comments

  • proftheory

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2022 - 7:46 pm

    <p>FOSS doesn’t mean you will get the binaries for free but the source code.</p><p>The store could require that they provide an active link to the latest source to remain in the store.</p>

  • SherlockHolmes

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2022 - 10:18 pm

    <p>Thank God I dont use the Store. </p>

  • justme

    Premium Member
    20 July, 2022 - 3:01 am

    <p>Not exactly sure what impact this has – though admittedly, I dont use the Store.</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    20 July, 2022 - 5:18 am

    <p>More a case of badly worded store rules that cause unintended consequences than actual intend. Great that they fixed it. </p>

    • spiderman2

      01 August, 2022 - 8:37 am

      <p>Exactly, but the "press" loved this</p>

  • vernonlvincent

    Premium Member
    20 July, 2022 - 9:09 am

    <p>As someone who didn’t like the Windows 8/10 store at all, I really like what Microsoft has done to the store in Windows 11 (and has since backported to Windows 10). It’s not perfect, but it is an order of magnitude better. I get why they were considering changing the policy on paid open-source apps. As someone who makes frequent use of Audacity, I have gotten tired of seeing the "paid" versions of this app that didn’t come from the Audacity team. But I also think they are right in backing down and trying to find another way to address the issue.</p><p><br></p><p>I think the Windows 11 store gets a lot of unnecessary bad press. As I said – it’s not perfect, but it is a lot better than it was.</p>

  • wshwe

    20 July, 2022 - 2:25 pm

    <p>Microsoft should have stuck to their guns on this issue. It’s plain wrong to peddle free open source apps that you didn’t author.</p>

    • darkgrayknight

      Premium Member
      20 July, 2022 - 2:59 pm

      <p>Peddlers of free open source apps in the store can still be removed. If the open source developer notices there are apps that are using their code or if others notice the peddler is not the owner of the code it can be reported in the store.</p>

  • scovious

    20 July, 2022 - 10:45 pm

    <p>If I take open source software and charge someone for it, then I am a thief and a consumer was harmed. It’s a shame everyone else doesn’t see it that way, but you have to give Microsoft some credit for doing the right thing.</p>

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