As the Windows 8 operating system grows in popularity, thanks to the decline of Windows XP and the increased focus on mobile devices over desktop, the Windows App Store will naturally grow. To begin with, a lot of consumers had an issue with the Windows App Store because of its lack of applications, Microsoft have had a number of drives to try and solve this problem – offering incentives to developers to release on Windows and even making a WYSIWYG app development tool.
Potentially as a result of this, the store is now full of Spam apps – something which Windows seemed very reluctant to do anything about until now. Technology blog How-to-Geek posted an article about it earlier this week which tore into Microsoft for their lackadaisical approach to their App Store verification process. That article has now been taken down and Windows have already removed 1,500 spam apps from its store.
The problem wasn’t just with low quality spam either; a lot of the apps which could be found on the Windows store took the icon of officially published, free apps, changed some characters in the title then charged up to £4.99 for it. These apps then did nothing other than link you to the official free version. A search for VLC or iTunes would bring up entire pages of clones designed exclusively to take money from consumers.
Now Windows have changed their policy on app certification, on their official blog they have stated:
- Naming , to clearly and accurately reflect the functionality of the app.
- Categories , to ensure apps are categorized according to the app function and purpose.
- Icons , must be differentiated to avoid being mistaken with others.
This will help no end to the collection of low quality, spammy apps on the Windows app store.
Apple and Google already have such restrictions in place for their own stores. Apple’s are notoriously stringent, while Android are a little more lax, although generally ensure there is no chance of anything designed to scam can slip through the net.
Now that Windows have made these changes, hopefully the quality of the Windows store will increase. Genuine developers of real, useful apps won’t be put off by the changes – this will only affect people who were looking to scam consumers.