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Microsoft cracks down on shoddy Windows Phone apps

02 May 2012
ZTE Orbit smartphone running Windows Phone

Microsoft is attempting to clean up its Windows Phone Marketplace with the addition of new developer guidelines.

The company said that it hopes the new rules will improve the user experience of its marketplace while simultaneously reducing hassle for app developers who may otherwise face having their software pulled from the marketplace.

Microsoft's new copyright policy now states an app's name, logo, screenshot, and description must be free of trademarked content, unless the developer owns or has secured permission for its use.

However, developers may use trademarked materials to describe apps functionality.

Microsoft cited the example of calling an app a "Reader for MSN" as a proper use of this new rule.

Todd Brix, Microsoft senior director for Windows Marketplace, said in a blog post that the company was updating the rule in response to a rise in takedown requests.

"When a trademark or copyright owner contacts us about a suspected violation, we investigate and pull apps when the complaint is valid," Brix wrote.

"Lately we have been doing more of this, especially for trademark misuse."

The Windows Phone team is also working to reduce bulk publishing by developers.

Now app-makers must put their software in a single marketplace category and use app tile images to reflect the unique features of closely-themed applications.

App tiles will also now be more strictly policed for inappropriate content. Microsoft has outlined what they deem as too "racy" for the marketplace. If they deem a developers image tile to be inappropriate they will require the app to be taking down and fixed.

A limit on app keyword search terms has also been set.

Developers now can only have a maximum of five keywords associated to an app. Any app that exceeds the five keyword limit will have all of its keywords deleted.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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