AAWP (8.1 version) and many other older applications now not available in the Store

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A few weeks ago I reported on Microsoft starting to eliminate 'abandonware' in the Windows Store. See the quote below. It does seem as if Microsoft is being quite ruthless though - removing applications and games which still worked just fine (in their cute Windows Phone 8.1 way!) Caught up in this is the original AAWP application that Rafe published for 8.1 - it's true that it was a little dated and that not all stories (and none of the comments) worked, but it's still notable that it got nobbled in the big tidy-up.

As I reported originally:

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responded to Microsoft's content enquiry a few months ago and if they don't notice that their old application was even unpublished, then would we really still want the title in the Store?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.

If a developer's app or game is unpublished - maybe they missed the emails from Microsoft?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.

Which I stand by, though it's a little unfortunate that Rafe was one of those who perhaps missed the email and that the AAWP application has now been unpublished from the Microsoft Store directory. 

For AAWP, of course, for anyone on Windows 10 Mobile now, there's the rather wonderful AAWP Universal application - which is far superior. For anyone still on Windows Phone 8.1, best to use this web site - it works better on mobile than the old application if I'm honest.

Although there's no official list of applications and games which have been classed as 'abandoned' and thus unpublished, I did notice the following are missing, just from a random selection of my own 'Library' (listed in the Store):

  • MetroPass
  • WinKee
  • Codesafe Pro
  • mod Tuner Pro
  • Smart Lights
  • Momento+
  • Photcaster
  • Pinterest Beta
  • WP Bench

I'm sure there are hundreds more that are used by AAWP readers, feel free to comment.

The problem, of course, is that if you've got used to a specific (perhaps niche) application and it's been working fine, then if you have to hard reset your phone to fix an issue (or perhaps you get the phone replaced) then the application is not available to restore from your backup. Which means that some people may get inconvenienced.

One suggestion on our original story was that there be a special 'archive' area of the Store for older applications and games, for items which you've bought or downloaded in the past but which can't be found by new users and which come up with a 'Are you sure?' warning before you actually install them.

Something for Microsoft to think about. In the meantime, we have a leaner, meaner, cleaner Store for the platform going forwards, so that's probably better in the long term?