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.”