Microsoft is (Finally) Cleaning Up the Windows Store

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Microsoft is (Finally) Cleaning Up the Windows Store

Microsoft has announced sweeping changes to the Windows Store and says it will no longer allow the low-quality, me-too apps that currently clog its online storefront. This move is as overdue as it is welcome: The store is today a cesspool.

But not for long, Microsoft says. It is changing to a new app certification process with more “robust” rules that will protect developers who create good apps and help users avoid crap.

More specifically, Microsoft is making the following changes.

Eliminating app clutter. Microsoft will eliminate apps that use similar icons and titles to other apps, or apps whose icons and titles don’t properly represent the apps. “We may also remove apps that do not offer unique content, creative value or utility,” Microsoft adds. “For example when there are many apps that do not provide differentiated value (e.g. many flashlight apps with the same look and feel and functionality), some may be removed from the Store. This will help customers access high value content in each of the Store categories.” Bravo.

icons

Ensuring apps are appropriately priced. App prices must now reflect the true value of the app. That is, similar apps should generally be comparable in price. And while developers can use promotional pricing they cannot use “irregular or unfair practices” that violate Windows Store Code of Conduct. “If an app is priced significantly higher than other apps in its category and it is determined that users might be confused and believe (incorrectly) that the higher price is warranted based on superior functionality or value, it may be removed from the Store,” Microsoft notes. Again, bravo.

Distinguishing informational apps. Informational apps, like guides, tutorials, instructional content, reference materials, and other similar types of apps must be easily identified, so customers don’t inadvertently purchase such an app when they intended to buy an actual game. There are tons of these apps in the store today. But Microsoft has a solution: “In order to make it clear to users what they are buying, informational apps that are not easily identifiable as reference apps, must distinguish themselves by prominently displaying a text or banner labeling it as such. If an informational app violates this policy, it may be removed from the Store.” Excellent.

informational-apps

Ensuring relevant app titles and keywords. Windows Store now requires that an app’s description and title does not state that the app is similar to, or better than other apps, unless the apps are in fact comparable. Developers can no longer use popular and irrelevant keywords to manipulate an app’s placement in search results or rankings. “If your app has a title, description or keywords that are not relevant to the app purpose, or include keywords that are not related to the app,” Microsoft notes, “it may be removed from the Store.”

This is fantastic news. I look forward to a high quality version of Windows Store—with fewer, but better apps—to debut alongside Windows 10.

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