This is one of those things that has been a long time coming and certainly needed. Microsoft announced yesterday that they are changing the policies for apps in the Windows and Windows Phone store, aimed at making it easier for consumers to find the real app and not a closely named knock off. I personally think this is a big step forward as it is something I’ve been fighting since I came back to Windows Phone this month. Simply put, when you compare the Windows Phone store to the App Store from Apple, there is… well there isn’t much of a comparison. This looks to be changing for the better.
The changes outlined are aimed at making life easier for consumers. The company has changed the Windows and Windows Phone Store certification requirements with the focus of those changes around three key areas:
- 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.
Microsoft also states:
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 is nothing but good news peeps and it is an acknowledgement from Microsoft that consumer complaints are being heard and actioned.
Welcome to the new Microsoft.
So how big of a problem is this? Take a look at a search for Instagram that I did this morning. There are a lot of names with a lot of
very similar icons. This leads to a lot of confusion on just which app to download and worse, some of these are charged for when the actual Instagram Beta app is free.
Microsoft also believes this will help developers as it will clearly identify their app versus something this very similar in look and function. In other words, a copy-cat. And I have to agree that I do think this will help developers who have put their time, energy in effort into their apps in a forthright way.
At the end of the post from Microsoft you can see how you can report apps that you find confusing or misleading. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use the online tool that the company has provided. Either way, rest assured, that someone is listening and actioning your feedback.