Microsoft's new policy for app publishing
Microsoft's new policy for app publishing
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 03 June 2011

In a response to criticisms about the quality of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, Microsoft has imposed a limit of the number of apps that can be certified per day.

In announcing the new policy for "bulk app publishing, Todd Brix, in the Windows Phone Developer Blog, explains the problem:

In recent weeks a handful of companies have individually published hundreds of apps in a matter of a few days. We call this bulk publishing. While these apps meet our certification requirements and give consumers a wider selection of content, we're also finding that publishing them in bulk degrades our customers' experience. By publishing hundreds of apps in a short amount of time, the popular "New" Marketplace list category fills quickly, pushing the other new apps out and reducing the diversity of the shopping experience.

 Having been prompted to evaluated the impact of bulk publishing, due to "some very thoughtful input from both our user base and our developer community" Microsoft has put in place a new policy with immediate effect. It limits the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once.

This change is intended to:

retain a balance of choice and customer experience by enabling customers to see a broader and more representative assortment of new apps from the developer community when they see "New" apps every day.

The blog post also reveals that many of the most recently published bulk apps, specifically those from companies who have published a large number of apps with similar functionality in a short period of time are being removed from Marketplace. Microsoft is:

offering to work with these developers to explore how they can better take advantage of the Windows Phone platform to improve the functionality of their apps and reduce the need for large numbers of similar apps.

and says that it is:

committed to create and share additional guidance and best practices in the near future to help developers create compelling apps that offer localized or targeted experiences, without having to create dozens of unique apps.

In other words developers are now being discouraged from flooding the Marketplace with numerous versions of apps that do the same thing but to different audiences. Hopefully this move to limit bulk publishing will lead to an improvement in the quality of the available apps and the general consumer experience and motivate developers to create new and novel apps for Windows Phone.

However 20 apps per day still seems a lot and hardly closes the flood gates. Perhaps looking at quality rather than quantity would be a better policy.

Developers generally like the freedom that Android offers over the Apple App Store but it has to be recognised that this has resulted in a lower quality of app being presented to the Android Market Place. Microsoft seems to be steering a path that isn't quite the full control that Apple insists on while trying to avoid the low quality app that results from a free-for-all.



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