Microsoft Windows app requirements may get tightened

Microsoft Windows Phone

When it comes to app stores, nobody can argue that quality is much more important than quantity; we generally don’t want to install useless applications on our devices. Microsoft has announced via a blog post that they’re actively working to improve the quality of applications available on the Windows Phone Marketplace, and will soon roll out several new initiatives to better enforce their current policies and enhance the quality of marketplace apps. The new initiatives will focus on 4 key areas.

Avoiding Trademark Trouble

Microsoft has stepped up enforcement of trademark violations, and provided tools to help developers determine whether or not they’re violating a trademark before submitting an application to the Marketplace. Often, developers are confused as to whether or not they are violating a trademark, resulting in costly investigations by Microsoft once an application has been flagged. With these new tools, Microsoft hopes developers will think twice before submitting applications to the marketplace, resulting in the reduced need for such costly enforcement measures.

Content Policy

Q&A

U.S. PTO

Keeping the Quality Bar High – Bulk Publishing

One of the biggest issues Microsoft faces pertains to bulk publishing, where developers push dozens (or even hundreds) of similar applications at the same time. These could range from multiple channels for a program (news, sports, countries for travel guides, etc.).

Microsoft claims developers are selecting multiple Marketplace categories, a clear violation of Microsoft’s policies. Microsoft states that developers should choose the one category that best fits their application, instead of selecting multiple. Going forward, applications not in compliance with this policy will be removed from the Marketplace.

Microsoft also wants to see more variation when it comes to the tile images associated with applications. When producing multiple, similar applications with slightly different content (such as travel guides), the tile image should be different and reflect the features of each individual application. Microsoft will also start removing applications that don’t comply with this policy soon.

Cleaning Up Keywords

Some developers abuse keywords. They either submit more than the 5 allowed keywords, or submit keywords that aren’t relevant to their application just to show up in search results for popular keywords. If I’m searching for something about SkyDrive, I sure as hell don’t want a cooking application to show up in my search. Starting this week, Microsoft will remove all keywords of applications that have more than 5, and will remove any not-relevant keywords on all applications.

Content Quality Enforcement

No more happy fun time for Marketplace apps. Though Microsoft’s policy currently disallows applications that contain more than what you’d expect to see on primetime TV or in a swimsuit magazine, some apps obviously sneak through the cracks, either with app content or tile images. Microsoft will be stepping up enforcement of “racy” or “sexual” material on the app store, and developers can expect to have violating content removed in full.

You can find the full blog post in its entirety at the following link. Affected developers will be contacted over the next several days to ensure compliance and provide guidance as to how you may remedy any violations.

[via WPCentral, Windows Phone Developer Blog]

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