Microsoft has offered clarification about prohibiting the sale of open-source apps. The company has confirmed that it is not banning commercial open-source apps from the Microsoft Store.
Not attempt to profit from open-source or other software that is otherwise generally available for free, nor be priced irrationally high relative to the features and functionality provided by your product.
As a result, there were a lot of complaints from developers who have listed open-source apps on the Microsoft App Store. Despite what the name suggests Free and Open-Source Software, commonly referred to as FOSS, isn't always free to download and use.
I am disappointed by the @MicrosoftStore policy change that prohibits selling open source software. The Store provides independent open source developers an opportunity to create sustainable projects by charging a reasonable amount there. https://t.co/a3x9MSZJZS— Hayden Barnes (@unixterminal) July 6, 2022
Linux and OSS are routinely assumed to be entirely free. However, there are many commercial projects that bring a lot of additional value. Although based on FOSS, there are no restrictions on a developer to charge for an open-source app.
Giorgio Sardo, the General Manager of Apps, Partners, Store at Microsoft, initially claimed Microsoft’s goal was not to stop the distribution of OSS. The company merely intended to cut down on "misleading listings”.
We absolutely want to support developers distributing successfully OSS apps. In fact there are already fantastic OSS apps in the Store! The goal of this policy is to protect customers from misleading listings. Thanks for feedback, we will review to make sure the intent is clear— Giorgio Sardo (@gisardo) July 6, 2022
The explanation offered by Sardo seems quite vague. Hence, some developers asked him to clarify the company’s position in regards to the sale of apps (based on FOSS) on the Microsoft Store.
We are all waiting for these clarifications. Make it clear that FOSS can be sold on the store as that is great way to fund those projects, even if tech savy users may compile or not install the same product from another free source. Convenience of a store does worth few bucks.— Sorin Sbârnea (@sbarnea) July 8, 2022
There might not be a direct correlation, but Microsoft is also trying to keep apps that use Apple's WebKit, away from its store. WebKit is an open-source rendering engine.
On June 16, we shared a policy aimed to protect customers from misleading listings,in effect from July 16. In listening to dev community,we got feedback it could be perceived differently than intended.We'll delay enforcement of that policy until we clarify the intent. Stay tuned.— Giorgio Sardo (@gisardo) July 8, 2022
As the Tweet indicates, Microsoft has decided to postpone the implementation of the policy. He added that Microsoft needs to clarify its intent behind the revised draft. What this means is that Microsoft will not be banning commercial OSS apps from the Microsoft Store. However, the company hasn't yet scrapped the troubling clause in the policy.