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Microsoft removes restrictions on 'generally free' and open-source apps in Microsoft Store

Microsoft Store on Windows 11
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has reverted a change to its policies for the Microsoft Store.
  • A previous change prohibited listing apps that were open-source or generally free.
  • Open-source and generally free apps are now allowed in the Microsoft Store as long as they are listed by the creator of the app or a party with an appropriate license.

Microsoft has updated its store policies in order to help certain developers profit from applications. Following clarification from Microsoft, app developers can put open-source and generally free apps in the Microsoft Store, as long as the listing is done by the app's creator or a party with an appropriate license.

Previously, Microsoft Store policies stated that apps cannot "attempt to profit from open-source or other software that is otherwise generally available for free, nor be priced irrationally high relative to the features and functionality provided by your product." The portion about free or open-source apps is no longer part of the policies.

Microsoft updated policy 11.2 to reflect its stance on free and open-source apps in the Microsoft Store. It now reads (opens in new tab):

"All content in your product and associated metadata must be either originally created by the application provider, appropriately licensed from the third-party rights holder, used as permitted by the rights holder, or used as otherwise permitted by law. Reporting infringement complaints can be done via our online form."

According to Microsoft, this was the company's intent from the beginning. After developers and community members spoke out against the original policy change, Microsoft's general manager of apps, partners, and the Microsoft Store, Giorgio Sardo, said that Microsoft wanted to support open-source developers.

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A Microsoft spokesperson shared the following, "over the past year, we have been on a journey to continue to open the Store to all developers and deliver better customer experiences. This policy update is a continuation of that work and meant to enable developer choice while helping improve customer experience."  

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.