Microsoft cleans up Windows Phone Marketplace

The company is hunting down apps with trademark infringement, inappropriate content, and more

In a post on the official Windows Phone Developer blog, Microsoft has promised to crack down on apps that violate its terms and conditions, including trademark infringers and apps with explicit content. These are problems that other established app stores, like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store already experience in great volume. Todd Brix, Microsoft's senior director for Windows Marketplace outlined how developers can steer clear of having their apps delisted.

Brix noted that a number of trademark violations tended to be unintentional.

"We often find trademark violations are unintentional: some developers just aren't clear on what constitutes a violation," said Brix. "Our rules boil down to this: Your registered publisher name and everything about your app-name, logo, description, screenshots-must be unique and free of trademarked content unless (1) you own the trademark, (2) you've secured permission from the owner to use it, or (3) you're using a trademarked name (not a logo) to describe your app's features or functionality without suggesting that the app is actually published by the trademark owner."

The Windows Marketplace is meant to be family-friendly, so Microsoft is also aiming at removing apps with sexually-explicit content.

"We don't allow apps containing 'sexually suggestive or provocative' images or content. What we do permit is the kind of content you occasionally see on prime-time TV or the pages of a magazine's swimsuit issue," said Brix.

"We will be paying more attention to the icons, titles, and content of these apps and expect them to be more subtle and modest in the imagery and terms used. We will also monitor customer reaction to apps and reserve the right to remove ones that our customers find offensive. While this change might require a little extra work on the part of a small number of developers, there are plenty of creative and appropriate ways to comply: showing male or female models in silhouette, for example, is one possible alternative."

Brix also cautioned developers on app spam: submitting the same app in multiple categories or submitting multiple apps with slightly different themes.

"You should pick a single category that best reflects the content and function of your app. This not only helps customers find your app but gives all developers an equal opportunity to have their app discovered where people expect. Developers who submit the same app across multiple categories will have it removed from the catalog," he said.

"When you create multiple closely-related apps-say, a series of quote apps that vary by theme-the Marketplace tile images must reflect the unique features of each individual app. They cannot be duplicates or near duplicates of each other. "

Microsoft is currently far behind Apple and Google when it comes to its app marketplace, but these improvements could provide a more consumer-friendly store. Will it be enough to entice more developers?

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Latest comments (3)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios5 years ago
Why does everything always have to be 'family friendly'. And by this of course they mean banning anything that might be alluring. Violence and death? Oh that's absolutely fine come on in and pour yourself a drink.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Bunch on 2nd May 2012 11:51pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Much as I love my Wp7, MS have already dropped the ball when it comes to family friendly. With all the debate of iOS and in app purchases, it should be noted on WP7 making a purchase doesn't ask for a password, I haven't found a way to enable that, and I was also actually annoyed to find the default billing method was to add to my phone bill, a big step backwards in my eyes.
This means I could never let my kid play with my Titan without watching like a hawk, so the family friendly thing is pointless, especially baring in mind you can look up hard ore porn on IE anyway.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
And will someone tell me WHY these folks NEVER think this stuff through when launching these services?

Anyway, this family-friendly thing cracks me up, considering most of the stuff I hear from people walking the street with their kids yelling into their phones are saying. As the kid's ears are burning off, yeah, sure - hand him or her that phone with a cute game to calm them down.

Of course, the phone is still on fire from the cursing the person on the other end of the line just got, but hey - a little Angry Birds will make you forget fast, right?
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