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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store 126

Posted by timothy
from the bad-actors dept.
redletterdave writes: Microsoft announced on its Windows blog Wednesday that it's removed more than 1,500 apps from its Windows Store in a bid to clean up the store and restore trust with Windows 8 and Windows Phone users. Microsoft's new certification process, in particular, asks for clear and accurate names that "reflect the functionality of the app," more accurate categories, and differentiated icons to ensure apps aren't confused with one another. Microsoft reached out to developers with apps that violated its policies; some agreed to make changes to their software, while those who were "less receptive" saw their apps removed from the Windows Store. That might be just the beginning.
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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

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  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:32AM (#47774599)

    Google needs to clean up misleading apps in their search and stop malware instead of profiting from it.

    Look at the ads for Firefox.

    http://i.imgur.com/piER06h.png [imgur.com]

    It's the same for other apps, like Skype etc.

    • They won't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mystikkman (1487801) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:46AM (#47774741)

      They won't fix it. They make a ton of money from those ads, make Windows slow down and look bad so they can push heavily locked down Chromebooks that techies seem to sing the praise of.

      I completely fail to comprehend why most Slashdotters seem to push everyone towards DRM'ed iPads and Chromebooks that put Palladium to shame instead of more open Windows PCs.

      I guess it's more about Microsoft hate and the desire to bring them down than software freedom.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I completely fail to comprehend why most Slashdotters seem to push everyone towards DRM'ed iPads and Chromebooks that put Palladium to shame instead of more open Windows PCs.

        Microsoft hate might be a partial explanation, but there are others.

        There already exist free and open desktop platforms that work well. No need to recommend Windows 8.
        And if someone actually wants a locked down platform, why not recommend the ones that work the best, rather than Windows RT or Windows Phone?

      • Re:They won't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:10PM (#47775023) Homepage

        I completely fail to comprehend why most Slashdotters seem to push everyone towards DRM'ed iPads and Chromebooks that put Palladium to shame instead of more open Windows PCs.

        I guess it's more about Microsoft hate and the desire to bring them down than software freedom.

        You know, it's as much about giving our friends and family a user experience which a) won't drive them insane, and b) won't make them come to us for tech support.

        And, really, for many of us this whole "software freedom" thing is a little overplayed.

        I've always found Stallman to be a bit of a crank, and the vast majority of people hear this stuff, and they think of teenagers spouting Marxist theory because the school cafeteria switched from Coke to Pepsi ... it becomes a little tired and melodramatic.

        I'd wager that 99% of all people will never audit their IP stack, recompile their browser, or otherwise want any involvement in this stuff. They want the latest cool thing, and not some near approximation of it which comes in a kit.

        What they want is a tool to get the stuff done they need/want to, and they want it with as little hair pulling as possible.

        And, really, let's be honest here ... Windows is no more (or less) open than Apple, and in the places where they're more open, they're trying to be less, just like Apple. Everybody wants their own walled garden.

        Hell, I installed a Linux Mint VM image a while back, and it wasn't even possible to set the search provider to Google, apparently because it's not ideologically pure enough or something.

        So, if my Mom was looking for a tablet ... I'm going to find her one which suits her needs and will work for her, and I am never going to say "ZOMG, but this software is teh free".

        Because my Mom already rolls her eyes at the rest of my loony rants, and doesn't give a damn about software freedom.

        So, if you want to know why people aren't doing this, it's because when someone starts screaming "viva la revolucion" over software freedom, people roll their eyes and try to get distance from you.

        Don't get me wrong, I likes me some Open Source software. But, have I built an entire ideology around it? Hell no.

        • Re:They won't (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sensei moreh (868829) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:38PM (#47775415)
          I've never had a problem setting my Linux Mint search provider to Google, or DuckDuckGo, or Wikipedia (I haven't tried the others. Click on the down-arrow in the search window, select "Manage Search Engines ...", then click on the "Get more search engines ..." link. Google should be one of your choices.
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            From their own page [linuxmint.com], right now:

            Linux Mint recommends the following search engines:
            Engine Preserves your privacy Funds Linux Mint Description
            Yahoo The 2nd largest search engine on the Web, full of features.
            DuckDuckGo A safe and secure engine providing augmented Yahoo results.
            Ixquick A safe and secure engine gathering results from multiple search engines.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Aka "I pulled my initial claim out of my ass".

              • by gstoddart (321705)

                Aka "I pulled my initial claim out of my ass".

                No, I pulled it from the Linux Mint VM I have which didn't give me any obvious mechanism to do something as trivial as setting my search provider to Google.

                If it isn't in the drop down list, and I have to play hunt the wumpus to figure out WTF I need to be doing to add it, I'll stand by my initial assertion ... that, for whatever reason, they've made setting Google as a search provider less than easy or obvious.

                Google is not in the default list, after spending a

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            The problem is the end users. I see this a lot as we work in an IE shop, IE7 to be precise because of some sensitive stupid web services that won't run in anything else.

            Anyway my point is that they default to Bing, there is an option to change it permanently in pretty much an identical way that you described in Mint, yet 99% of the users don't do this, and of those 99%, 100% of them talk as if they are about to gift me their firstborn after I show them how to change it.

            NEVER underestimate the power of "defa

        • by Ravaldy (2621787)

          ROUND OF APPLAUSE!!!!!!!!!

        • by jbolden (176878)

          I'm an Apple user. I can accuse Microsoft of a lot but yes they are substantially more open than Apple:

          a) Their hardware base system is extremely open. Apple provides very limited hardware choice
          b) Their driver selection is 2nd to none. Incredible. Apple is far worse than Linux and might even be worse than other BSDs.
          c) Azure (their cloud offering) is probably the most open cloud out there. Certainly among the big players. Apple's cloud is completely tied to their platform and they don't allow othe

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Aaden42 (198257)

        As a user, I’d prefer a software system that had no DRM, but I’m prepared to accept that few publishes are ever going to give that up. It’s down to a matter of whether the compromise struck between publisher and user is reasonable and acceptable to me.

        It’s true every iOS app is DRM’d, so we have to look at what the restrictions to me as an end user are: In order to run an app, I must login as the Apple account that purchased it on the device I wish to use the app. That

        • Sensible a rational comment - what are you doing on slashdot?

          Another thing worth noting about apple's DRM is that it's possible to authorize a device for multiple apple IDs without (so far as I've been able to tell) any restrictions around the number of accounts of a given device, or the number of devices against a specific account.

          Regarding their video DRM, it's certain that this is the decision of the movie studio rather than Apple - and it's quite possible that one day Apple may be able to move the world

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Microsoft sells computers without the crapware: www.microsoftstore.com/signature
        On the one hand they hate what the crapware does to the entire experience. OTOH $75-90 in subsidies per machine per OEM translates into about $150 to the end customer in savings. At an ASP of $550 an increase to $700 would be a 27% increase in price which would definitely harm sales. The value trap is a disaster for Microsoft. One of the points of the new interface is to drive up the price of PCs by making better interface ha

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      If you want to be a good citizen, submit feedback to Google using their Adwords feedback page.
      I also did a search for "Firefox" and got a different scammer. I just submitted a feedback form for it. The scammer I saw also used the trademarked Firefox logo, but don't even mention that because you can't report that unless you represent the trademark holder. Just select that they are a counterfeit site and mention the scamware/malware aspect.

      Naturally, Google should be able to use common sense and filter thi

    • You are aware that there is nothing either illegal, or contrary to the GPL, in repackaging a browser, right? Its expressly in the GPL that you can do so.

      And since it isnt illegal, on what grounds would google tamper with the search results? I thought we got up in arms when they do that at the request of celebs and whatnot. Or is it just because this is YOUR google search pet peeve, so its ok to mess with the results?

      • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:40PM (#47775449)

        You are aware that there is nothing either illegal, or contrary to the GPL, in repackaging a browser, right? Its expressly in the GPL that you can do so.

        And since it isnt illegal, on what grounds would google tamper with the search results? I thought we got up in arms when they do that at the request of celebs and whatnot. Or is it just because this is YOUR google search pet peeve, so its ok to mess with the results?

        1) This is about the ads, not the organic search results.
        2) GPL allows you to repackage software, but not under the same trademark. You can do whatever with the code, but cannot distribute it as Firefox if it's not coming from Mozilla. E.g. Debian had to rename their Firefox branch as IceWeasel
        3) Google does not need any grounds to tamper with even organic search results.

        • 2) GPL allows you to repackage software, but not under the same trademark. You can do whatever with the code, but cannot distribute it as Firefox if it's not coming from Mozilla. E.g. Debian had to rename their Firefox branch as IceWeasel

          Question: can I repackage Firefox binaries and distribute it along with my other files? I made a php application and wanna make it a turnkey WAMP stack. It will be called "MyCool PHP App" and the word Firefox won't appear anywhere.

        • 2) GPL allows you to repackage software, but not under the same trademark. You can do whatever with the code, but cannot distribute it as Firefox if it's not coming from Mozilla. E.g. Debian had to rename their Firefox branch as IceWeasel

          Technically Mozilla has its own license on Firefox which required that change. The Mozilla Public License [wikipedia.org] is described as "hybrid BSD and GPL."

          If the repackaging just involved slapping a skin and a couple extensions onto it but no code modification, I don't see why it would be a problem. Didn't IceWeasel involve recompiling or something?

          • If the repackaging just involved slapping a skin and a couple extensions onto it but no code modification, I don't see why it would be a problem. Didn't IceWeasel involve recompiling or something?

            What if one of the extensions sends all browsing activity and form submission data to another server?
            Why would Firefox want to be associated with that?

        • by Yebyen (59663)

          I just wrote a longer response to your post and Chrome ate it (bah)

          Basically I think you are wrong about (2), but having just read up on the reasons for IceWeasel rebranding, it would seem that Mozilla does not agree with me.

          Isn't it true that the Advertising Clause in original BSD license was the one and only thing separating it from GPL and making it incompatible? The advertising clause, which does nothing other than assert the rights and protections that are already granted by Trademark law...

          • The original BSD advertising clause required that a notice go in all advertisements, which goes beyond trademark law. The license without that clause is compatible with pretty much everything (including the GPL).

            Trademark law recognizes trademarks, and controls when they can be used. It doesn't put any restrictions on any activity that doesn't use somebody's trademark, such as legitimately using somebody else's code. The idea is that, when somebody uses FireFox, they can assume that this is something

  • Walled Gardener (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:33AM (#47774607)

    If you're going to have a walled garden, you might as well tend it!

    • They're still doing a piss poor Job of Tending it.

      Searched for 7zip and openoffice on the app store, got fake apps that directs you to a site full of scam ads. Can't get it to show up in the html5 web store though, so I guess it's a start.

      if you have windows 8, go to the store and report them. it's the only way MS will act on this.

  • *Restore*? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Restore trust? Shouldn't it be *there* in the first place to restore it?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In related news, New York City has finally taken action on their pigeon overpopulation problem, trapping and removing a whopping 1500 pigeons from the city!

  • All it took for them to do this was a half dozen articles about how the entire store is infested with scams and fake apps. This is something they should have done a year and a half ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:12PM (#47775057)

    > 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 doesnÃ(TM)t misrepresent their purpose.

    I'm glad to see the scamware get the boot, but the whole idea of "we changed the certification requirements" should scare everyone. Unless you're a large company with a highly sought after application, you're an idiot if you develop for platforms that don't have an open distribution model. Microsoft's platform is one instance where developers have some leverage and everyone needs to take a stand and tell Microsoft to go fuck themselves until they get their heads out of their asses stop trying to control application distribution.

    Today they're kicking out the scammers. Tomorrow it'll be competitors.

    • The problem is they will tell you 'You absolutely can distribute your own apps, as long as you buy the server infrastructure from us to do it.' It is possible to side-load on iOS, Android and WinPhone platforms, just not for average users.
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Tomorrow it'll be competitors.

      What are you talking about? Microsoft has a long and glorious history of shutting out competitors [groklaw.net] with shady practices [groklaw.net]. You're making it sound like this would be a new thing.

    • Why an idiot? There's plenty of ways for an iOS app to fail to make money. Having Apple disapprove it is one, and there's lots of reasons why it might not sell on the store.

      Also, all the complaints I see about Apple not allowing this app or pulling that one have the apps at least pushing the limits. Develop an app for iOS that is well within the Apple guidelines and they'll let it through. That approach has its limitations, but it is a viable business strategy.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:18PM (#47775129) Homepage
    This might not be a stellar opinion but its got to be said. for microsoft to jettison 1500 apps from a store few used and even fewer knew existed isnt poigniant unless you take into account that this has been microsofts strategy for 10 years in various segments. new product shows up, its identical to a product or products that have been around for 5 years, and it reluctantly disappears without much fanfare or spends a decade on XBox revenue life support. The zune was a dismal failure, and Azure only made an 11% gain because they tie the product into normal licensing for businesses, making it a mandatory item as part of discounts. Windows phone has had more stops and starts than a sixteen year old in a porsche. in 2014 it only had 3% of the marketshare for smartphones and its purchase of nokia was the kiss of death that made standard and poors downgrade their bond status to junk. the content restrictions on the appstore are virtually indistinguishable from the content restrictions of a protestant grandmother. The concept of a microsoft store in general is so hobbled its had to partner with another floating turd, best buy, to continue expansion beyond its 63 stores. Bing was the product of 3 years pounding away at yahoo until they purchased their search technology and relabeled it. After a huge marketing blitz, forcing it as a default in internet explorer, strapping it onto everything from phones to the xbox and even copying google results they still couldnt do better than an alexa rank of 23. Yahoo is alexa ranked at 4. IIS is a blood-stain that makes headlines only because its netcraft rating is artificially inflated with hosting providers that have been paid to use IIS for their static placeholder sites. Internet explorer, despite having 7 versions of development, ranks dead last in pc and mobile categories. Windows and Xbox and perpetual corporate licensing are all that keep microsoft in busines, and even Xbox isnt ranked #1 in gaming as that title goes to nintendo.

    Financials and earnings reports sum this point up exactly. Microsoft has hemmoraged 21.8 billion dollars in net income and all it has to show for this is a lobbying division thats convinced a city in germany to switch to windows, and an operating system that, until valve pulls the trigger, will continue to exist solely because it shows up on the computer at the time of delivery and skyrim runs on it.
    • by bradvoy (686502)

      ...from a store few used and even fewer knew existed ...

      You're suggesting that some used the store without knowing it existed. An impressive achievement.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Searching from the start menu (well, that tile desktop I guess) includes Windows Store results by default. So downloading an app without knowing? Probable.

    • Ummm, Bing is not Yahoo. Yahoo is Bing.

      3% isn't great. But Apple only has 10%. So it's not *that* far behind what most people consider the leader.

      IE is dead second. Well behind Chrome but way ahead of Firefox etc.

      Bing is also the default search engine for the iPhone. So I guess that means Apple is in on this conspiracy to cram Bing down everyone's throats.

    • That's a lot of stuff to say without backing any of it up with references. I'll take that rant as your personal opinion and move on. If you want people to take a post full of claims like that seriously, provide links to support them.

  • People actually use the Windows Store? Wow.

  • Microsoft's new certification process, in particular, asks for clear and accurate names that "reflect the functionality of the app,"

    i lol'ed at the part in bold....

    M$ is not the worst offender but there up there...'zune', .NET, etc...M$ is horrible at names

    i'll probably never choose to use a M$ product for the rest of my life...but maybe this is a sign they are wising up?

  • ensure apps aren't confused = EA and others can bully out other apps that are competitors to there own apps.

    look at how bad simcity was now just thing how bad it can be for new apps / games to be the same way and they use the app store lock in to push out other competitors with better games / apps that do the same thing / are the same type of game.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:33PM (#47775355) Homepage

    ... asks for clear and accurate names that "reflect the functionality of the app,"

    I guess there will be no more "Shazam" for the Windows Phone platform, then?

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:47PM (#47775573)

    Sorry, the Store has been a problem for me from the start. First I don't believe in Walled Gardens but you also can't sideload Metro apps. Couple that along with the fact that you can't delete store history in Windows 8 and you'll have a situation that just pisses people off. There are multiple support threads on this in the Microsoft forums and yet nothings been done to address these deficiencies. That's why you still see vendors creating desktop mode apps which still give them some control over the user experience including downloads and support.

    Sorry Microsoft, get your heads out of your collective asses and listen to your customers.

  • What these online stores for software need is proper quality control. Steam used to keep a pretty good standards for publishing games, but that has gone down the hill. Android never had any good quality control and iOS seems to be lacking as well.

  • by genner (694963) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @01:38PM (#47776331)
    For the three remaining apps.....
  • I don't care what they do, I will never buy anything that runs Windows 8. 8 is the deal breaker.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's that like half their app store gone now?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wait, they actually had that many apps in there in the first place?

  • Most MS apps are crap anyway.

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