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Microsoft begins Windows Store crapware purge

Microsoft begins Windows Store crapware purge

Microsoft has modified the rules by which applications can be listed in the Windows Store, purging 1,500 'crapware' apps in an effort to boost consumer confidence in the service.

Microsoft has pledged to remove misleading and malicious applications from its Windows Store digital distribution service, beginning with the immediate purging of 1,500 of the worst offenders.

Windows has been slow to adopt the app store model of its rivals, integrating the functionality into its core operating system only with the launch of Windows 8. Like similar services on Apple's OS X and various Linux distributions, most notably Canonical's Ubuntu and its Software Centre, the Windows Store provides a unified source for both free and paid-for applications which can be quickly acquired, downloaded and installed.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has up to now been doing a poor job of curating its Windows Store. Many of the applications present on the service are so-called 'crapware' - not actively malicious, but often charging money for something users could get for free or purporting to be a version of a popular application but in reality being something completely different.

It's a problem Microsoft has now acknowledged. 'Earlier this year we heard loud and clear that people were finding it more difficult to find the apps they were searching for, admitted Microsft's Todd Brix in a blog post this week, '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.'

The new rules will require that applications listed on the service are named clearly and accurately, and that the name reflects the true functionality of the application. Combined with the requirement that icons are differentiated, preventing the common tactic of a third-party app stealing an icon from a well-known package, the company is hoping the quality of available software on the service will improve in due course. Already, the review has resulted in numerous applications changing their ways, while another 1,500 whose developers refused to comply with the new rules have been removed from the Windows Store altogether.

For crapware that still populates the Windows Store, the company has asked that its users report all such applications through official channels or by emailing reportapp@microsoft.com.

10 Comments

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XXAOSICXX 29th August 2014, 12:38 Quote
"For crapware that still populates the Windows Store, the company has asked that its users report all such applications through official channels or by emailing reportapp@microsoft.com."

Next step....crapware writers send influx of reports to Microsoft about all the legitimate apps to get them removed/bumped down the list instead.
Corky42 29th August 2014, 13:20 Quote
I foresee a few problems with these new rules..

If they have allowed crapware into the store in the first place they obviously haven't been checking the software, what difference is forcing devs to name apps to reflect the true functionality going to make if they still aren't going to check the software against how it's named, described.

They haven't been checking if some apps belong to particular dev's so how are they going to know what icon belongs to what app, what happens when two developers lay claim to the same icon.

Laying down new rules mean nothing if no one is going to police, or enforce them. Microsoft needs to invest more man/woman power into actually vetting submissions properly, not casting down edicts from on high.
ArcAngeL 29th August 2014, 13:38 Quote
Development date I'd imagine.

But god I hope they do this to their phone store too.

And it would be a win for them to dump copy cat apps, that aren't genuine to the ownership company, e.g. Father 500 fake book apps.
Nexxo 29th August 2014, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I foresee a few problems with these new rules..

If they have allowed crapware into the store in the first place they obviously haven't been checking the software, what difference is forcing devs to name apps to reflect the true functionality going to make if they still aren't going to check the software against how it's named, described.

They haven't been checking if some apps belong to particular dev's so how are they going to know what icon belongs to what app, what happens when two developers lay claim to the same icon.

Laying down new rules mean nothing if no one is going to police, or enforce them. Microsoft needs to invest more man/woman power into actually vetting submissions properly, not casting down edicts from on high.

Conversely enforcement means nothing if there aren't any rules laid down to enforce. You kind of need both.
Shirty 29th August 2014, 14:15 Quote
I for one am very glad that this is happening. As a long time Android user who has recently made the move to a Lumia 930 and Surface Pro 2, anything that can be done to keep the shite out of the store will be appreciated.

It's not terrible by any stretch, and there is a lot less crap in the Windows store than either Apple or Google's - what it is missing are a number of "official" apps from Google etc.

Apple and Google might laugh at MS for only having a few hundred thousand apps as opposed to seventy-eight quintillion, but when only a few thousand of those are actually of any use the MS store actually looks more attractive, and will only improve.
Corky42 29th August 2014, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Conversely enforcement means nothing if there aren't any rules laid down to enforce. You kind of need both.

Indeed, but they already have the following rules that probably would have prevented much of the crapware, if only they had enforced them.
Quote:
5.10 All content in your app and associated metadata must be either originally created by you (the app provider), appropriately licensed from the third-party rights holder, used as permitted by the rights holder, or used as otherwise permitted by law
...
Quote:
6.13 The metadata and other materials you provide to describe your app must accurately and clearly reflect the source, function and features of your app

The screenshots, app name, developer name, tile, category, and app description you provide with your app should make it easy for a user to understand the functions, features, and any important limitations of your app. If your app contains content or features restricted to certain geographies or certain hardware, or has other important limitations, they should be clearly described. You should not represent your app to be from a company, government body, or other entity if you do not have permission to make that representation.
13eightyfour 29th August 2014, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirty
what it is missing are a number of "official" apps from Google etc.

That isn't entirely Microsofts fault though, iirc Microsoft had an awesome youtube app, but were forced to pull it after pressure from Google themselves. It's a shame but there a still alternatives that work well enough.

Like you though, I actually find the MS store more useful because of its size, and would't go back to android unless I was forced to!
MrJay 29th August 2014, 19:44 Quote
Surly with 1500 apps removed they may as well just shut the thing down...The repository must be empty!
Nexxo 29th August 2014, 21:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Indeed, but they already have the following rules that probably would have prevented much of the crapware, if only they had enforced them...

Actually, they needed just one, most important rule:

1. Don't make ****.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJay
Surly with 1500 apps removed they may as well just shut the thing down...The repository must be empty!

I guess that I am hallucinating my apps then, such as:

News Bento
Hyper for YouTube
Tweetro
Flipboard
Skype
Evernote Touch
OneDrive
DropBox
Deezer
Vimeo
/r/etro
Wave
News Republic
Reuters
TED
Wikipedia
Google Search (with voice search)
National Rail Enquiries
Currency Converter
Star Chart
Sidebar Dictionary
Cocktail Flow (naturally)
Bamboo Paper
Fhotoroom
Autodesk Sketchbook Express
8Zip
Fresh Paint
PingCrosby 3rd September 2014, 09:26 Quote
I reported the Windows Store and got it removed! (They put it straight back when they realized it was theirs)
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