Reasons Microsoft May Remove Software From Windows Store

Creating a better buying experience for consumers.

The Windows Store.
The Windows Store.

Microsoft has released guidelines for software developers related to the apps they create for its Windows Store. Although the guidelines are intended for developers, they're also useful for consumers, as they provide a glimpse of what kind of apps will ultimately be available.

In a blog posting by Bernardo Zamora, Microsoft talks about new certification policies. Each app created must be submitted to Microsoft, and be certified before it can be added to the Windows Store.

Pretty much any app can be rejected for whatever reason Microsoft sees fit (although there is always a reason given to the developer.)

Too Much Redundancy

It's clear from the latest guidelines that Microsoft is seeing many apps in its Store that look the same and do the same thing. For instance, Zamora says this: "Apps that can’t be distinguished from other apps in the Store, have icons or titles that are too similar to other apps already in the Store, or don’t properly represent the functionality of the app may be removed."

He gives examples of icons that differentiate themselves properly, and those that don't. The ones that don't, in this instance, all use the same generic "toolbox" icon, so they look very similar, even if the wording is different.

If there's a category of apps that all work similar and have similar functionality, some of those will also be weeded out. The blog gives the example of flashlight apps that do essentially the same thing.

"This will help customers access high value content in each of the Store categories," Zamora writes.

These are common problems, by the way, with the Apple Store and Google Play, the app stores for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. In fact, it's a bigger problem in those stores. They have many more apps than the Windows Store, and overlap between similar types of apps can be enormous.

It makes it exceptionally hard sometimes to choose an app, when they all look and work alike.

Price Gouging

Another issue Microsoft's clamping down on is pricing. If it feels that an app in the Windows Store is excessively overpriced compared to its competition, it may remove it. Microsoft thinks this type of pricing may deceive consumers into thinking an app costing a lot more than similar ones, it may offer a lot more functionality or usefulness, when in fact it may not.

Deceptive Information

Properly identifying "informational" apps is another source of concern. For example, an app may simply be a guide to using a game, and not the game itself. But if it's not clearly stated on the app that it's a guide or tutorial, customers may be fooled into buying something they don't want.

Keyword Shenanigans

The final caution is to make sure all the information related to the app like its title, description, keywords and tags -- in other words, all the details a customer may use to search for an app -- are accurate, and not sneaky ways to fool you into looking at a developers unrelated app. So if you create a health app and add the keywords "Candy Crush" to have your app come up in the list when someone's looking for the game, Microsoft may delete your app.

 

Ultimately, these new, tighter guidelines will benefit Windows users. There will be less clutter, less confusion and fewer attempts to manipulate you into buying something you don't want. Well done, Microsoft.