Microsoft moves to clean up Windows Phone Marketplace

Trademarks, quality, and sexual content on the agenda

Microsoft moves to clean up Windows Phone Marketplace
With Windows Phone Marketplace now comfortably through the 70,000 apps barrier, so Microsoft has begun clamping down on those breaking the store's rules.

In a post on the official Windows Phone Developers blog, Microsoft's Todd Brix revealed the firm is to take a harder line on developers who cross the line in three areas: false use of trademarks, low quality apps, and the inclusion of overtly sexual imagery.

Making the right mark

On issue of trademarks, Brix claims a lot of apps currently breaking the rules simply because developers aren't aware of what they are.

"Your registered publisher name and everything about your app - name, logo, description, screenshots - must be unique and free of trademarked content unless you own the trademark, you've secured permission from the owner to use it, or you’re using a trademarked name to describe your app’s features or functionality without suggesting that the app is actually published by the trademark owner," details Brix.

"For example, using 'Microsoft App Co.' as your publisher name would cause problems because 'Microsoft' is a trademarked term. By the same logic, you couldn’t call your app 'MSN' or 'YouTube'.

"However, you may be able to make an app called 'Reader for MSN,' as long as you don’t use the MSN logo or otherwise suggest that the app is published by Microsoft."

Raising the standard

When it comes to quality, Microsoft is proposing a general clean up. Developers should not submit their app in multiple categories, for instance, or publish scores of similar titles simultaneously.

The tile images used to represent the apps should also be different, while Microsoft will be taking a hard line with apps that use popular search terms as false keywords, such as 'Justin Bieber' or 'YouTube'.

Finally, Microsoft claims it will also be taking a closer look at apps that feature sexual content – something that may well worry those behind the iKamasutra app, who have encountered problems on Apple's App Store for similar reasons.

"We don't allow apps containing 'sexually suggestive or provocative' images or content," concludes Brix.

"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."

[source: Windows Phone Marketplace]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.