Microsoft purges 1,500 deceptive apps from the Windows Store -- get your refund now!
When I was a kid, generic foods were a staple in our home. Rather than have Lucky Charms or Froot Loops, my mom would buy whatever knock-off brand that Pathmark or Waldbaums was selling. An easy way to know if you are getting off-brand cereal, is that it comes in a bag rather than a box. While not as tasty, it at least provided nutrients and calories. It's not like there were rocks or sawdust in the package.
Unfortunately, the Windows Store has been full of knock-off apps that equates to buying a product and getting an empty box. You see, devious "developers" have been filling the store with phony apps that resemble legitimate ones. This means people were spending their hard-earned money on deceptive garbage, and these low-life developers have been getting paid. Today, Microsoft says enough is enough and removes 1,500 of the offending apps. If you were deceived by one of them, you can even get a refund.
"Earlier this year we heard loud and clear that people were finding it more difficult to find the apps they were searching for; often having to sort through lists of apps with confusing or misleading titles. 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 doesn't misrepresent their purpose", says Todd Brix, Microsoft.
Brix further explains, "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 process is continuing as we work to be as thorough and transparent as possible in our review. Most of the developers behind apps that are found to violate our policies have good intentions and agree to make the necessary changes when notified. Others have been less receptive, causing us to remove more than 1,500 apps as part of this review so far (as always we will gladly refund the cost of an app that is downloaded as a result of an erroneous title or description)".
While 1,500 apps sounds like a lot, I am sure there are still many more that need to go. Keep in mind, this will be an ongoing battle, as I'm sure both existing and new devious people will keep on submitting deceitful apps. Luckily, Microsoft has a sound game plan, by making sure that apps are properly named, categorized and do not have misleading icons.
Of course, Microsoft cannot catch them all, but you can help. If you see an app that looks phony or misleading, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you were a victim of one of these apps, I would suggest emailing Microsoft with that same email address to score a refund.
As a test, I did a search for "Google Plus" and was presented with what you see below. Obviously, the one named "G Plus For Surface Pro" is not real. This app is not made by Google, and the $1.49 would be poorly spent. I will be reporting it to Microsoft.
Have you ever been deceived by a misleading app in the Windows Store? Tell me in the comments.