Microsoft cleans up Windows Phone Marketplace in an attempt to win apps war

1 May 2012

Windows Phone Marketplace is setting the bar high for developers, and the apps market as a whole, as the senior director outlines new standards and policies to tackle trademark infringement, keyword stuffing and bulk publishing.

In a blog post yesterday, Todd Brix highlighted four ways the Windows Phone team is planning to improve Marketplace in order to make it a better shopping experience. The post, aimed at developers, outlines the standards and policies they are expected to adhere to, and the measures that will be taken should they be found straying from these guidelines.

A strong focus is being put on quality – which is important for Marketplace as the App Store and Google Play have both bested it on quantity.

Developers can expect a crackdown on bulk publishing, and Brix advises those with multiple closely related apps to ensure that their tile images are clearly differentiated. Developers that flout the five-keyword limit will also be penalised, and the keywords they have selected will now be examined for relevancy.

Brix also lays out the Marketplace rules on use of trademarks concisely, explaining that developers can use a trademarked name only to describe an app’s features or functionality (e.g. Reader for MSN), but the use of another brand’s logo without permission will not be allowed.

Finally, Marketplace has also decided to enforce more stringent restrictions on apps containing sexually suggestive or provocative images and content. Specifically, this means that icons and titles will be heavily scrutinised and apps may be pulled from the store if this content is deemed too racy.

The purpose of these restrictions is to sort the wheat from the chaff and make Marketplace easier for users to navigate. If Microsoft are successful in rolling out these measures, it might be a tipping point for them in the apps market, as they can guarantee higher quality apps to Windows Phone users.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.