​Microsoft clamps down on high app prices in Windows Store

If your Windows Store app is more expensive than a comparable rivals, Microsoft may give it the boot.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Expect your app to get the boot from the Windows Store if it's priced too high or it's doing nothing more than taking up space.

Ahead of the release of Windows 10 this summer, Microsoft is making greater efforts to ensure its app store isn't filled with useless and costly apps.

The company announced on Wednesday that it is taking a tougher stance on which apps can enter and remain on its store, and warns it may kick out any apps that aren't towing the line.

Its aim is to improve the experience of using the store, which it hopes to achieve by eliminating clutter, and ensuring apps are appropriately priced and labelled properly.

It won't be the first time Microsoft has warned developers of a tougher stance on what constitutes quality. Last August, it removed 1500 apps that were scams, in response to growing impatience among users that frequently had to sift through fake apps to find the genuine ones.

The policy update today addresses many of the same concerns.

One issue it didn't tackle with last August's clean out was inappropriate pricing, which it's highlighted the importance of this week - potentially causing concern among developers that they'll be forced to lower prices.

"The price of an app must reflect its value," said Bernardo Zamora, director of Microsoft's Windows Apps and Store, adding that prices must be "fair".

What is fair? "This means that similar apps should generally be comparable in price. This also means that while developers may use pricing to promote their apps, they must not utilize irregular or unfair practices that violate Windows Store Code of Conduct," he wrote on the Windows blog.

While developers will retain sole discretion over pricing, Microsoft may nonetheless give their app the push if it's significantly more expensive than comparable apps.

The focus on pricing comes as Microsoft begins "enforcing a more robust approach" to its 10.1 app certification policy, which is meant to prevent fake apps and apps that copy the branding of better known equivalents.

"We will identify apps that are not following the policies, informing developers of issues we locate, and removing apps that don't comply," said Zamora.

As well as apps that look identical or too similar to other apps, Microsoft may also remove those that don't offer "unique content, creative value or utility", such as multiple flashlight apps.

Microsoft will also continue to ensure apps have relevant titles and keywords, and that informational apps, like guides and tutorials, are appropriately labelled.

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