As Windows Store expands to reach more customers in more markets with a growing list of great titles, we are continuously looking for ways to improve both customer experience and developer opportunity. We strive to give our worldwide customer base easy access to amazing app experiences while keeping developer friction to a minimum. From time-to-time this process slips out of sync and we need to recalibrate.
Every app store finds its own balance between app quality and choice, which in turn opens the door to people trying to game the system with misleading titles or descriptions. Our approach has long been to create and enforce strong but transparent policies to govern our certification and store experience. Earlier this year we heard loud and clear that people were finding it more difficult to find the apps they were searching for; often having to sort through lists of apps with confusing or misleading titles. We took the feedback seriously and modified the Windows Store app certification requirements as a first step toward better ensuring that apps are named and described in a way that doesn’t misrepresent their purpose. These changes included:
- 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.
These revised policies are being applied to all new app submissions and existing app updates for both the Windows and Windows Phone Store. We’ve also been working on titles already in the catalog, conducting a review of Windows Store to identify titles that do not comply with our modified certification requirements. This process is continuing as we work to be as thorough and transparent as possible in our review. Most of the developers behind apps that are found to violate our policies have good intentions and agree to make the necessary changes when notified. Others have been less receptive, causing us to remove more than 1,500 apps as part of this review so far (as always we will gladly refund the cost of an app that is downloaded as a result of an erroneous title or description – customers can visit Windows Support and Windows Phone Support to contact Microsoft about a refund.)
The Store review is ongoing and we recognize that we have more work to do, but we’re on it. We’re applying additional resources to speed up the review process and identify more problem apps faster. No approach is perfect, so we encourage people to report any issues they may encounter with Windows Store. For most issues, customers can use the “report concern to Microsoft” link in the Store. For infringements concerns, people can use our online tools or email firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
We remain as committed as ever to delivering a great customer experience AND expanding the developer opportunity through fair and transparent policies.