Microsoft this week made public the changes it’s rolling out to the Windows Store app certification policies in an effort to clean up the clutter and improve the overall experience for customers. As part of that process, Microsoft will keep a closer eye on app pricing to make sure that developers aren’t overcharging for their software.
That can be a bit tricky, especially since Microsoft in the same breath says that developers retain sole pricing discretion. In reality, that’s no longer case — developers will retain partial pricing discretion, because “if an app is priced significantly higher than other apps in its category and it is determined that users might be confused and believe (incorrectly) that the higher price is warranted based on superior functionality or value, it may be removed from the Store.”
Microsoft doesn’t detail how that process will work. Instead, it’s telling developers that “similar apps should generally be comparable in price.” Ultimately this could be a good thing for consumers, though at the same time, it remains to be seen how developers will react to essentially being told, “Hey guy/gal, price your apps however you see fit, it’s totally up to you! But don’t overcharge or we’ll yank your app from the Windows Store faster than you can say ‘WTF’!”
Somewhat less controversial is Microsoft’s vow to eliminate app clutter by removing apps “that do not offer unique content, creative value, or utility.” The example Microsoft gives is having too many flashlight apps that look, function, and feel the same.
Microsoft is also requiring developers to appropriately distinguish their apps so that customers don’t purchase an information title when they think they’re getting a functional title. You can see examples of this above.
The revised policies cover both new and existing apps.
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