Windows Phone Marketplace improvements planned

Microsoft has seen more and more apps being submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace over the past few months. That number has now risen to over 80,000 submitted apps. Perhaps because of its increased popularity, Microsoft is now going to be more proactive in terms of monitoring Windows Phone app submissions to the Marketplace from now on.

In a new post on the Windows Phone developers blog, Microsoft's Todd Brix outlines four specific ways the company will be improving the Windows Phone Marketplace. One of them will be to keep an eye out on any names for apps that might violate previously established trademarks. Brix states:

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.

He adds that many trademark violations are unintentional and that app developers can do some research beforehand by accessing the US Trademark and Patent Office database.

Second, Brix says that Microsoft is making sure that Windows Phone apps are released in just one category on the Marketplace as apps that are submitted in several Marketplace groups are in violation of Microsoft's policies. The Marketplace app tiles must also be unique to each app and not duplicate the graphics of any other app tile submitted to the Marketplace.

Keywords for Windows Phone apps will now be looked into more closely by Microsoft. The company has a policy of not allowing any more than five keywords for each Windows Phone app. Brix says that starting this week, any app that go over five keywords will have all of them deleted from the Marketplace. The app creator can then go back and resubmit up to five new keywords for their app. Brix also says Microsoft will now be looking for more appropriate keywords. He states:

We’ve noticed some developers have been entering keywords that are popular search terms—“Justin Bieber,” “YouTube”—but are totally unrelated to their app and what it does. If we find a keyword that’s not relevant to your app’s function or content, we’ll delete that keyword.

Finally, Brix states Microsoft will be making sure that Windows Phone apps on the Marketplace don't violate the company's content policies, specifically apps that show what Microsoft considers to be "sexually suggestive or provocative” content. Brix says, "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."

That will also extend to an app's tiles. The above graphics are examples of what Microsoft considers to be appropriate for Windows Phone Marketplace apps. Graphics that don't meet these standards will have to be changed. Brix states, "If you’re one of the handful of impacted developers, we will be reaching out to you within the next few days with more specific guidance on changes you need to make. If you don’t hear from us, there is no immediate action you need to take."

Images via Microsoft

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They also need to find a way to filter out all of those apps which are written in Chinese or whatever language that is!

Having developed an App for iOS, it sounds like they're pretty much mirroring policies that have been place on the App Store for years. Why didn't they just implement the keyword checks, unique tiles etc from the start?! I'm guessing the first goal was hitting some landmark numbers

They do but they are paying the wrong developers. They offer money to app developers on other platforms to bring their app to WP7. It is a good amount of money too. But they pay nothing to existing app developers who are actually developing apps on their platform. wtf The other platform developers do not even want to develop for WP7. They should reward current WP7 app developers instead of begging the other platform developers. Then they will get some more quality apps. Plus they should focus on getting their own unique apps that do not exist on other platforms.

BillyJack said,
They do but they are paying the wrong developers. They offer money to app developers on other platforms to bring their app to WP7. It is a good amount of money too. But they pay nothing to existing app developers who are actually developing apps on their platform. wtf The other platform developers do not even want to develop for WP7. They should reward current WP7 app developers instead of begging the other platform developers. Then they will get some more quality apps. Plus they should focus on getting their own unique apps that do not exist on other platforms.


I had a convo with my BF about this very thing. He brought up your point about MS needing to focus on getting their own unique apps that do not exist on other platforms. But I argued the "me too" catch-up thing is equally important to win over those using other platforms. As fickle as they are, the app fad of the month DOES matter. WP does need its Instagram, Angry Birds Space, grindr and the like. Heck, even screenshot support is important.

I have a list of things MS could do that no other platform has to increase its value.

1) Ability to copy a messaging thread to SkyDrive. It's a chat log basically like we have in WLM and AIM, and I can't think of how many times I wish I had a history of messages easily available.

2) An exclusive Movie Maker app. The power of WLMM on a phone would be amazing.

3) Ability to save photos from web and e-mail/text attachments direct to SkyDrive.

4) A Recycle Bin app! How many times have you deleted something and wish you didn't? Settings to turn this on or off or filters for select types to receive RB treatment would manage this nicely.

5) Auto-copy IE9 Mobile favorites to a SkyDrive folder.

All of those features would be great and a definite plus. The movie maker app would be killer but it would draw so much battery power that the phone would have to be plugged in. It definitely would be nice to have and more than the competition. I also agree that the big app titles need to exist, but Microsoft needs to remember their current developers which are their only developers.

Microsoft needs to pay developers money to create popular apps on WP7..honestly I do not understand it, don't Microsoft see that it is just in the Apps they are truly lacking?

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.

Didn't stop Microsoft from receiving a DMCA takedown notice about one of my apps from some company saying that they owned/manage the LSU trademark.

Great news. I would love for them to offer a filter for apps that are suggestive or provocative... Parents should be able to block that stuff (Or significant others... LOL).