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Microsoft cracks down on fake Windows Store apps

Vendor axes 1,500 'misleading' apps from store, promises refunds to customers

Microsoft cracks down on fake Windows Store apps
Microsoft said that it was enforcing stricter rules on app names, categories and icons

Microsoft announced yesterday that it had updated the Windows Store app certification requirements in an effort to crack down on fake and misleading apps.

As a part of the review, Microsoft said that it had removed more than 1,500 apps from the Windows Store, adding that it would refund customers that had been duped into downloading the fake apps.

The fake apps are generally considered to feature the same names and logos as legitimate apps, but don't provide the functionality promised. One example can be found with the VLC media player, the name and logo of which, up until yesterday, featured on dozens of search results, despite only a handful actually delivering any functionality.

While the VLC media player is free, there are also a number of paid apps that copycats have been riding the coattails of, duping users into paying for something that doesn't deliver.  

From now, then, Microsoft said that it was enforcing stricter rules on app names, which now have to "clearly and accurately reflect the functionality of the app."

The vendor also said that apps should be categorised according to function and purpose, and that icons must be differentiated to avoid confusion with other apps.

"This process is continuing as we work to be as thorough and transparent as possible in our review. Most of the developers behind apps that are found to violate our policies have good intentions and agree to make the necessary changes when notified," Microsoft said in a blog post.

The 1,500 axed apps were from developers that have been "less receptive," Microsoft said.

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