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Microsoft cuts 1,500 fake apps in Windows Store cleanup

Warwick Ashford

Microsoft has removed 1,500 fake, fraudulent and misleading apps from its Windows and Windows Phone store.

The cleanup is part of a review sparked by complaints that Microsoft’s online stores were full of fraudulent apps.

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As a result of the review, Microsoft has issued revised Windows Store app certification requirements to help ensure that apps are named and described in a way that does not misrepresent their purpose.

According to Microsoft, the new rules require app names to reflect the functionality of the app clearly and accurately.

Other changes are aimed at ensuring apps are categorised according to function and purpose, and that the icons used are different enough not to be mistaken for others.

One of the biggest complaints before the review was that users of Microsoft online stores found it difficult to differentiate between original apps and copycats.

Copycat apps included fake versions of Adobe Flash Player, Firefox, Candy Crush Saga, WhatsApp, Minecraft, Spotify and Blender 3D, according to a report by How-To Geek.

“These revised policies are being applied to all new app submissions and existing app updates for both the Windows and Windows Phone Store,” said Todd Brix, Windows Store general manager, in a blog post.

“We have also been working on titles already in the catalogue, conducting a review of Windows Store to identify titles that do not comply with our modified certification requirements.” 

Brix said most of the developers of apps that were found to violate Microsoft’s policies had good intentions and agreed to make the necessary changes when notified.

Those that failed to comply had their apps removed from Microsoft’s online stores.

“As always, we will gladly refund the cost of an app that is downloaded as a result of an erroneous title or description,” said Brix.

Customers can visit Windows Support and Windows Phone Support to contact Microsoft about a refund, he added.

According to Brix, the review of Microsoft’s online stores will be ongoing, with the company applying additional resources to speed up the review process and identify problem apps more quickly.

He encouraged customers to report any issues they encounter with Windows Store by using the “report concern to Microsoft” link.

“For infringement concerns, people can use our online tools or email reportapp@microsoft.com directly,” he added.


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