When visiting the online Microsoft App Store for Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT one naturally expects the smoothness and ease that we got accustomed to while browsing the Apple App Store. However, for those of you who have not seen the utter disaster that was built for Windows 8, a.k.a. Windows Store Apps, you are in for a very disappointing app-shopping trip.
The ugly truth is that the Windows Store is still in a very jagged form. As developers ourselves we feel that the main problem stems from ridiculously poor (if any at all) quality control of the apps that are being released to the public. Even though technically there are rules that developers have to follow for their apps to be eligible for sale in the Windows App Store, after doing a quick search of the current product selection one can see very quickly that Microsoft is NOT enforcing any of those rules.
Some examples of what we are referring to:
Missing app icons!
Missing content within the apps!
Does Microsoft actively check the Windows Store to weed out “spam” apps or duplicate apps with identical content by the same developer submitted to different categories? For example, let’s take a look at an app that appears numerous times, with the same artwork, but under a different name (see if you can spot it):
Pay close attention to the apps that we outlined. It’s all basically the same app, but the makers just gave it different names and changed the colors.
It seems that Microsoft is frantic to get as many apps into their market place (in desperation to compete with enormous volume available at the Apple App store and Google Play for Android). Perhaps Microsoft wants to be able to claim that they have a huge Windows 8 app ecosystem but after digging deeper, just a few searches is all that is needed to realize that a number of their apps are not even functional, or have no user value at all. We mean that there are apps that do virtually nothing, doh!
Microsoft quality control teams should be able to spot these and deny admittance to the store, but yet here they are.
Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard and Others Play Wait-and-See
If you strip away all the “ineligible” apps that have missing images and /or misspelled titles, the store does not have that much in a way of content. It also quickly becomes obvious that they are missing the currently popular apps that people tend to look for first, i.e. Facebook (that’s right, it might be a shock to realize but something as popular as Facebook does not have an official app for Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 for that matter). Here are some of the popular titles that we were looking to install: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PANDORA, SPOTIFY. None of those are in the Windows Store, but a lot of third-party that are looking to ride the popular apps’ coattails are certainly there.
For example if you search for FACEBOOK (keep in mind no official app actually exists), the below image shows what comes up.
By using the logo, the lower-case “f” and/or color-scheme of the trademarked product, these apps are all made to fool that they are somehow related to the real deal.
The other issue that we find with the Windows Store is the searching capabilities, or to be more honest the lack thereof. We cannot decide if their search lacks any intelligence or the people at Microsoft did that on purpose to drum up larger search results due to small app content.
To sum it up, the existing Microsoft Windows Store Apps has a tremendous amount of illegible content; only a small pool of unique content (a lot of redundant apps); and extremely poor search capabilities. The folks at Microsoft need to find a way to buckle down on the content submissions, because as it currently stands it’s a maddening mess.