Microsoft takes a much-needed look at Store bloat

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We (and other sites) have been asking for this ages - Microsoft to apply a little quality assurance to its app store on Windows Phone (and, via universality, Windows 8.x/10 too). And it seems as if the company is listening, announcing a swathe of tighter policies and enforcement, some of which is quoted below. About bloomin' time, of course.

From the Microsoft article, intended for developers:

Today I want to share with you adjustments we are making to Windows Store app certification policies to improve the Store experience for your customers. 

As of today, we are enforcing a more robust approach to 10.1 app certification policy (“Distinct Function & Value; Accurate Representation”) for both new and existing apps to ensure customers can easily find high-value, high-quality apps when shopping in Windows Store. These changes will help customers more rapidly find the apps they are specifically seeking.

We will identify apps that are not following the policies, informing developers of issues we locate, and removing apps that don’t comply. This effort will be focused in four areas that I will describe in more detail in this post:

  • Eliminating app clutter
  • Ensuring apps are appropriately priced
  • Distinguishing informational apps
  • Ensuring relevant app titles and keywords

Brilliant. Assuming this is all carried through then the Store search and browsing experience will improve markedly. One of the biggest nuisances are applications which look like branded games and applications but which are really nothing more than text files or even just links to web content. This is covered under the third bullet point above. In more detail:

It is important that when a customer purchases an app, she or he knows what they are buying. Informational apps, like guides, tutorials, instructional content, reference materials, and other similar types of apps must be easily identified, so customers don’t accidentally purchase an informational app when they intended to purchase a functional app (e.g. a game guide vs. an actual game).

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.


It's worth reading the piece in full, if you have the time. Certainly developers should take note, since the Microsoft scythe might even now be nipping at the heels of mispriced, misdescribed or misguided applications.

Source / Credit: Microsoft