Microsoft removes fake Google apps from Windows Phone Store

Microsoft has removed six apps that were published earlier this week in the Windows Phone Store that were made to look like they were developed and published by Google. The apps, which included "Hangouts", "Google Maps", "Gmail" and more, also had prices of $1.99 each. The real versions are all free on iOS and Android devices.

WinBeta first spotted the fake apps this week, which were all labeled as being published by "Google, Inc". So far, the only official Windows Phone app from Google is Search, which is shown in the store as coming from "Google Inc" (yes, there is no comma in the name).

The Next Web contacted Microsoft on the matter and since then the apps were all removed. In a statement, Microsoft said, "We removed a series of apps for violating our policies concerning the use of misleading information. The apps attempted to misrepresent the identity of the publisher." However, there's been no comment from Microsoft on how the apps were approved for release in the Windows Phone Store in the first place.

Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the low overall quality of apps in both Windows and Windows Phone Stores, and fake apps in the story have been a problem for a few years now. It would appear that Microsoft may need to spend some extra time evaluating which apps should be pushed in their app stores.

Source: WinBeta and The Next Web | Image via The Next Web

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft does not "strictly enforce the limit" on Office for iPad installations

Next Story

Rumor: iPhone 6 may have two different screen sizes

24 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Could Microsoft not at least afford to pay just one person with some common sense to oversee final app approvals?

This happens so often on both Win8 and WP, it's great that they've removed them but they shouldn't have been approved in the first place...

They're improving search though at last, if you search for Facebook on WP the official apps (and related official apps) are now at the top of the search instead of all the fakes and web wrappers. Hopefully they're getting serious about store curation.

Karanlos said,
How is this even possible with the app approval that the store has?

Isn't it obvious? Microsoft lets almost anything through in order to boost app numbers, no matter the quality or lack thereof. Right now, the Microsoft store is chock full of junk apps even though it only has 150k.

simplezz said,

Isn't it obvious? Microsoft lets almost anything through in order to boost app numbers, no matter the quality or lack thereof. Right now, the Microsoft store is chock full of junk apps even though it only has 150k.

"Only has 150k" See, that's using the numbers game. Why be a part of the problem? Not only are you wrong about the number, you're also ignoring the same problem on Apple and Google stores.

Good but they need to do A LOT more like remove at least 60% of the remaining apps in their store. Fact is most apps completely suck and having tens of thousands of garbage apps doesn't do them any good and makes it extremely difficult to find the (barely) usable ones. I remember not too long ago seeing Firefox app for $2.99. I can't believe stuff like that even makes it to the store in the first place. Quite frankly this creates an overall sense that Microsoft doesn't care about people getting completely ripped off in their store at all.

Well, Microsoft want to boost the numbers for PR purposes, so I doubt any quality control will be enforced in the near future.

TCLN Ryster said,
You make it sound (wrongly) that this is a problem exclusive to the Microsoft Store.

When I had an Android, when I opened the store, the first thing I saw were proper apps listed. There is a lot of garbage in the android store but it isnt so "in your face" as my experience on WP8.

TCLN Ryster said,
You make it sound (wrongly) that this is a problem exclusive to the Microsoft Store.

It is a lot more problem with the Windows Store than any other store. I've used Android very recently and currently use an iOS device (after selling my Lumia) and although the other stores have similar apps you have to really dig to run into them - on Windows store they're right in your face because often times there is simply no legitimate alternative - the situation there is a lot worse than any of the other stores.

How are they "right in your face"? It's not like they're "featured" or in the "top 10" lists. You'd have to search for them just like on any other store. They'd only be "in your face" if they'd either been highlighted by MS store staff, or if MANY users were downloading them which put them into the top 10/100/whatever lists.

Open up any random category in the store for games or software. There they are, the garbage apps.

No its not in featured.
But I've even seen garbage in the featured part.

The only clean section of the store where im not confronted with thousands of garbage apps, is the Nokia section.

That's good, but they could go further and remove a lot of the garbage apps too. Unfortunately it's all a numbers game and all app stores suffer from this problem.

The same could be said about iOS and Android stores, there's millions of garbage apps in their Stores, but you're right as you said it's a numbers game... when numbers don't even matter TBH.

Enron said,
That's good, but they could go further and remove a lot of the garbage apps too. Unfortunately it's all a numbers game and all app stores suffer from this problem.

As long as the apps follow the guidlines of the store, everyone has a right to be on there. Garbage or not. I agree there is lots of garbage...but prohibiting/removing these apps wont be recieved lightly. Lucikly the garbage apps are low rated so they are mostly ignored and easy to filter out.

techbeck said,
As long as the apps follow the guidlines of the store, everyone has a right to be on there.
I've said the same thing before. If there's a © or ™ violation then it's the rights holder's responsibility to make a complaint and protect his IP.

techbeck said,

As long as the apps follow the guidlines of the store, everyone has a right to be on there. Garbage or not. I agree there is lots of garbage...but prohibiting/removing these apps wont be recieved lightly. Lucikly the garbage apps are low rated so they are mostly ignored and easy to filter out.


The guidelines should be stricter. The WP8 app store is absolute garbage. So frigging horrible.

Microsoft could win more with a slogan like "We don't have more apps, but the apps we do have are of top quality", instead of allowing every single fake/garbage apps there is.

There are 50 happy tower clones, 500 angry birds and 3000 flappy birds. This copying and stealing in the store is making the WP8 experience quite horrible.

Come on Microsoft have some balls. Go make your app store stricter or as suggested above just add a 5th to the list. "Garbage" could be put under oem/apps/games/music in the store overview. Cause this race for apps is hurting WP8 and its users.

Unfortunately it would require to remove a big part of the store. Every time i browse the Windows 8 store save for a few useful apps the only thing i see is "fake" apps and the quality of them is most of the time questionable even if the rating is strangely always 4 stars. It's hard to find the good apps in the see of bad ones rated 4 stars and promoted in the top categories.

Great news. Tired of seeing these fake apps with web wrappers in the store. I was annoyed with these when I saw the Apple and Android stores plagued with them too, but I'm glad they're taking these down to protect the intellectual properties of the official brands and to keep the quality in the Windows Store.

Reading Johns news makes the impression all the other app stores don't have those problems :) But well - all stores with more than 1000 Applications will force clever people to install on external sources rather than searching the store for content. Not going to install anything a web search offers me for the pc - or do you

-adrian- said,
Reading Johns news makes the impression all the other app stores don't have those problems

The difference is that the apps exist on those other platforms and the legitimate versions always appear at the top, making it much less of an issue.