Microsoft responds to controversial store policy change

Microsoft Store Windows
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently announced policy changes for the Microsoft Store that will take effect on July 16, 2022.
  • One of those changes will prohibit the sale of open-source apps or applications that are free outside of the store.
  • The new rule drew criticism from developers, since some companies use the Microsoft Store to sell their own open-source apps.
  • Microsoft's general manager of partners and the Microsoft Store clarified that the new policy targets copycat and other illegitimate app listings.

Microsoft came under fire this week due to new policy changes for the Microsoft Store that will take effect on July 16, 2022. One of the new rules prohibits the sale of open-source apps or applications that are generally available for free outside of the store. The phrasing of the new policy is broad enough that it covers legitimate applications being sold by the makers of the apps. This led to criticism from several members of the developer community.

See more

While some people try to dishonestly earn money by selling others' open-source apps, there are companies that list their open-source or generally free applications in the Microsoft Store to earn revenue. This is often done in place of asking for donations.

"If you buy Paint.NET in the Windows Store, you'll be supporting its development directly (normally we ask for a donation)," explains the Microsoft Store entry for Paint.NET (opens in new tab).

After the policy was flagged up, Microsoft's General Manager of Apps, Partners, and the Microsoft Store Giorgio Sardo clarified the intent of the new rule. Sardo stated that the intent of the new policy is to target copycat apps and scammers.

See more

Sardo's comments were in response to a tweet by ani betts that said, "I suspect this was designed to catch scammers that lazily repackage FOSS software for $$, probably needs an exception for the copyright owners."

The general manager confirmed that Microsoft will look into clarifying the wording of the new policy.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).