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Microsoft is cracking down on fake Windows Store apps

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Say goodbye to scam apps

Microsoft's Windows and Windows Phone app stores have faced several issues with fake and scam applications over the years, but the software maker appears to be finally cracking down. After recent reports highlighting scams that lead people to pay for useless apps that are typically free, Microsoft's Windows Apps and Store general manager, Todd Brix, says the company will be enforcing its policies more strictly in future.

The scam apps are going away

While Microsoft made some changes earlier this year to its app certification requirements, Brix says Microsoft has been conducting a review of the Windows Store to find apps that don't comply with the guidelines. Microsoft's policies state names need to be clear and icons must be differentiated to avoid being mistaken with others. A number of fake VLC apps were listed in the store recently, each a fake app designed to scam Windows users out of money. It's not clear why these apps made it past certification in the first place, but Microsoft says it has been reaching out to developers to make changes to existing apps that fall foul of the rules.

Most developers have agreed to make changes, but Brix notes "others have been less receptive" and Microsoft has removed more than 1,500 apps as a result. "The Store review is ongoing and we recognize that we have more work to do, but we’re on it," says Brix. "No approach is perfect, so we encourage people to report any issues they may encounter with Windows Store." Microsoft isn't alone in its app store challenges, Google Play and Apple's App Store have both faced issues with cloned and fake apps in the past.