Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.
A few months ago, I switched to a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone as my primary phone. The phone and OS have its flaws, but most people would agree with me when I assert that Microsoft has done an amazing job at building a solid mobile operating system with a drop-dead gorgeous user interface (the Metro UI).
One thing that I found underwhelming when I started using the phone was the associated application store, dubbed Windows Phone Marketplace, because it lacked some of the apps I grew used to having available to me on iOS or Android.
Over time, things got better, and there are now over 70,000 apps to choose from, most of them free of charge. Personally, I like to look at which applications are ‘New’ on the Marketplace on a daily basis. Every time, I’m amazed at how many obscure developers use icons and product, company or brand names that are obviously trademarked by their owners (not to mention the many cloned apps in the store).
And over the past couple of months, I’ve become even more amazed, and quite frankly grown a bit irritated, at how Microsoft seems to do absolutely nothing from stop developers from doing this. Some developers even have the audacity to charge for apps that should have never been allowed in the marketplace at all.
It’s about time for someone to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Note: I realize that I’m far from the only one to have noticed there are many copyright-infringing apps on the store, but the situation is now seriously growing out of hand from my perspective.
Let’s take a tour of the cesspool that the Windows Phone Marketplace is rapidly becoming with the help of some screenshots, shall we?
Search results for apps
“Yahoo” (Flickr is an official app)
Developers offerings loads of free apps, filled with copyrighted logos and content
Selected unofficial apps (free of charge)
“The Next Web”
Developers offering unofficial Google apps, free and paid
Developers trying to dupe people into paying for unofficial news/magazine apps
“The Economist (print edition)”
“The New York Times”
Seriously, Microsoft. It’s about time someone cleans up this shit.
We offered Microsoft the opportunity to comment before publishing this article.
Update: We later received the following response, from Todd Brix, senior director, Windows Phone Marketplace:
“The Windows Phone Marketplace continues to expand at a rapid pace, both in terms of the size of the catalog and its geographical availability. We work hard to protect the developers who are fueling our growth and take allegations of copyright, trademark and intellectual property infringement very seriously. We’ve established a standard process for notifying Microsoft of a content infringement complaint and promptly act on those notices, including removal of apps when appropriate. We encourage publishers to report any possible content infringement here.
This is one of many measures we have in place to maintain a high quality bar. We were the first to establish and publish clear policies and standards. We certify every app for quality and performance to help ensure our customers don’t face the instances of malware that can be found on other platforms. We’ve limited the number of apps that one developer can publish in a single day to avoid overwhelming the “New” category. We review questionable content, reject or remove apps deemed offensive and work with the developers to adhere to our published standards.
Providing a consistently great shopping experience amid a rapidly growing marketplace is a challenge for all mobile platforms. We regularly review our policies and practices to make sure we’re providing the best experience for both end users and developers.”
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