Microsoft now eliminating abandonware from the Store

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I've been saying for years that the amount of abandoned rubbish in the Windows Store was an embarrassment, with numbers of titles allowed to grow out of control just so that Microsoft could boast of a larger headline statistic. It even drove me to create the AAWP curated (i.e. white-listed) directories of 'best applications' and 'best games', which I update regularly (see this morning's front page, for example). But it seems as though, if only by the simplistic metric of observing which developers fail to respond to a content questionnaire, Microsoft is ripping through the Store and unpublishing titles which it thinks have been abandoned.

Which is fair enough - if the developer hasn't responded to Microsoft's content enquiry a few months ago and if they don't notice that their old application was even unpublished, then would we really still want the title in the Store? Yes, it might still work, but there would likely be no support, no updates and who knows what incompatibilities with new OS versions.

On the flip side, some users might have application X that's abandoned and unsupported but which is installed on their phone and they're happy with it. But this will be OK as long as they don't reset their phone and expect a full restore of every application from the Store. 

I'm with Microsoft overall though (you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs). A pruned Store with just applications and games that are from developers who are alive, well and responding, has got to be a good thing.

Anyway, Neowin reports:

For the past few months, Microsoft has been warning developers that their apps will be unpublished from the Windows Store if they aren’t updated with age ratings in accordance with the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. While the company initially stated that non-compliant apps will be removed by September 30, 2016, it didn’t enforce this deadline.

When we inquired from the Redmond giant about when it planned to start removing non-compliant apps from the Windows Store, the company told us that it would be removing apps on a “rolling basis”. Now it appears that Microsoft has finally kicked off the process, as developers have now started receiving emails that their apps are being unpublished from the Windows Store. 

In its latest review of published apps in the Windows Store, the company has started removing apps without updated age ratings. The notes in the review mention that:

Microsoft unpublished your app for the failures listed below.

Notes To Developer

Your app was unpublished for policy 11.11, Age Ratings: The age rating questionnaire was not completed by the deadline of September 30, 2016.

If a developer's app or game is unpublished - maybe they missed the emails from Microsoft? - they only have to 'fill a questionnaire regarding their app's content, which takes roughly 5-10 minutes to complete'. After which the title will be back in the Store.

Source / Credit: Neowin