The Sad State of the Windows Phone Store

I started thinking about this while posting a comment on the thread: What would you do if you were in charge of the Windows Phone department? Please bear with me as this is only my opinion, but I'd like you to at least consider what I have to say.

On the Store on Windows Phone:

The current state of the Windows Store is pretty dire, unfortunately. To put it bluntly, it's a cesspool. The vast majority of apps are so terrible that it makes me wonder what kind of inspection process they've got going on that consistently allows apps that infringe copyrights, crash immediately after opening, are unusably slow, or fail to provide cohesive navigation.

This is without mentioning those that look absolutely terrible (I guess not all developers can be designers) and/or serve no real purpose.

Anecdotally, I perceive a certain overall indifference from developers of WP apps with regards to quality and truly useful scenarios that take advantage of the capabilities of the platform. This is especially true if you consider a particular app's counterpart on iOS (don't know about Android).

There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, a particular app usually has much better UX on iOS than its Windows Phone counterpart. Why is this? You could easily make the argument that since the ROI on Windows Phone isn't as clear cut as on iOS, developers simply make compromises and take shortcuts on WP, whereas on iOS they're more willing to truly make the time investment necessary for high-quality software.

On Windows Phone there are, however, a handful of really useful apps that allow you to filter out the crap and bubble up the gems in a nicely curated list, like AppFlow, Nokia's App Highlights, among others. These go a long way towards masking the stench of the seemingly tens of thousands of terrible apps, but they don't solve the overall problem of developers uninterested in advancing the platform and putting out garbage in the attempt of making a quick buck.

My idea to solve this is simple:

Create a section or mini-store of truly great apps.

This is not unlike the current Featured Apps section, with the difference that this is a curated list of as many apps as are possible. Apps to be included in the Quality section have a much more stringent and selective vetting process, so only the best of the best in user experience and overall usefulness make the cut.

If an app doesn't make the cut, it belongs in the "regular" side where all things mediocre live. If this sounds elitist, it's because it is; but that doesn't mean it's not necessary.

Consider the psychological impact this would have on the WP developer community: Having your app accepted into the Quality section would bring with it a form of prestige. As a developer you'll want to dedicate the time and resources needed to make your app truly great.

Additionally, because most people would want to buy apps from the Quality section (as they are guaranteed to be the best apps in the store), maybe this will spur on those developers who had been leaving their best work in other platforms to push more and build better software.

Maybe all this will do is create apathy among developers who feel hurt by the fact that their apps "don't make the cut", but I'd rather have that than continue to witness the WP platform eroding into a place where truly great apps are few and far between.


The Windows Phone Store is full of garbage. MS should create and maintain a curated section of apps that are awesome. Developers could submit apps to the "Awesome Section of the Store", which would be inspected and vetted for their awesomeness. Consumers would know exactly where to go to find the really good stuff, and the crappy apps would die out/be buried because nobody wants them.