Microsoft Takes Out 'App Trash' With Windows Store Spring Cleaning

Does the world really need 76 flashlight apps? Microsoft thinks not, and it’s planning to cull the least useful apps (flashlight and otherwise) from the Windows App Store in the near future. Microsoft sent app developers a letter this week outlining several tweaks to its App Store policy that are designed to reduce clutter and improve search results for its customers.


“Visual and category clutter negatively impact customer expericne with Windows Store,” Microsoft’s Bernardo Zamora wrote in a blog post. “This includes apps with similar icons and titles that can be confusing to customers, in addition to app icons and titles when tey don’t match the app content.”

Microsoft is cleaning house. Poorly-designed apps will be trashed.
Image credit: Microsoft

Aside from getting rid of irrelevant, overlapping, and just plain lame apps, Microsoft plans to go through the App Store to check for “appropriate” app pricing and to ensure that apps have clear titles and keywords. Some developers give their apps misleading names or add irrelevant keywords to get more exposure in search results, but Microsoft will be bringing the hammer down on those apps now.

The new policy adjustments also icons for information apps that don’t have clear icon titles. Microsoft gives the example of Diamond Quest – the user guide for Diamond Quest must have “User Guide” on the icon.

Image credit: Microsoft

The policy changes are good news for serious developers who find their apps crowded by garbage apps, but they won’t matter much if Microsoft doesn’t enforce them. So, kudos to Microsoft for making the policy changes, but we hope to see Microsoft use its new policy tools to clean out the store. Will there still be 76 flashlight apps next week?