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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 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.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <<slashdot> <at> <worf.net>> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:28PM (#47775281)

    They should crowdsource this. Simply mark new apps as being in a probationary period and give downloaders the option of tagging the app as misleading, malware, abuse of permissions, etc. It would greatly help their human staff find the bad apples quickly. Of course the same goes for Google and Apple.

    The problem comes when the apps are ported.

    Say I make ACoolApp on iOS, and it's so good, someone makes an Android version. Call it "AndroidCoolApp". Now much richer from iOS sales, I decide to try my hand at Android development, and port it to Android. Now what?

    ACoolApp for Android is technically "duplicate" of AndroidCoolApp, but that was a duplicate of ACoolApp to begin with.

    It's happened a few times. And while it's true there are a few intentionally deceptive (search 1Password and find the REAL one), there are also plenty where both apps are legitimately developed - someone sees a cool app on the other platform, the developer is "taking too long" and release their own.

    And that's the real problem - how do you properly draw the line between apps that are legitimate but happen to be similar because one inspired the other, and apps that are pure scamware and trying to undermine the original developer?

    Hell, what if you make a flappy bird derivative that has some neat twists in it? Does your app no longer exist because of all the others? (And face it, most people would download the app, run it for two seconds and then mark it duplicate without trying to play it).

  • 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 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.

  • Re:They won't (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aaden42 (198257) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @01:08PM (#47775873) Homepage

    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’s it. There’s no limitation on the number of devices. To date at least, the DRM has never been used for “evil” to revoke the right to run an app post-purchase. The most Apple has done to my knowledge was revoke an app’s right to use location services when it misbehaved, but the app still ran on devices where it was installed. If I’m not willing to input my Apple ID username & password on a device for some reason, to me that seems like a good indication that I’m trying to run the app on a device that isn’t mine. As a user, I don’t think preventing that is unreasonable as part of the agreement in my purchasing software.

    The other restriction on (unrooted) iOS is that I can’t run arbitrary code of my choosing on my device. If I want to circumvent that (without jailbreaking), I can choose to pay Apple $99/year to run any code I like on up to 100 devices of my choosing. If I need more devices than that, there are higher-cost corporate options to do the same.

    Don’t get me wrong. I loath DRM in general. All else being equal, I’d use DRM-free platforms whenever possible. That said, all else is not equal, and the benefits that Apple’s platform provides in terms of security, interface consistency, and ease of use are worth the tradeoff of accepting the limitations of their DRM system.

    To contrast that, Apple’s video offerings through iTunes are still limited to playback on five computers with permission required each time a new device is authorized. It’s also only possible to play back the video with devices and software that Apple supports (no Linux, no third party media players, XBMC, etc.) Personally I find that an unreasonable restriction for video. I easily have more than five computers that I could want to play video, and several of them are either non Win/Mac or are set-top systems that I use an interface like XBMC that can’t access DRM’d video, even on an otherwise supported OS. For those restrictions, I choose not to buy video from Apple.

    When the limitations imposed by DRM actually restrict something that I think is reasonable for me to want to do, I generally choose not to accept those limitations and vote with my wallet. When DRM generally stays out of my way and more or less succeeds at keeping honest people honest Ideologically I might prefer it not exist, but I have a hard time really justifying that in the real world.

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