August 28, 2014, 1:23 PM — Microsoft finally did the right thing by finally ridding the Windows Store of 1,500 scams and copycat apps. But here's one thing it's not yet doing: Actively searching out users who paid for the fraudulent apps and paying them back.
Microsoft yesterday began purging the Windows Store of offending apps. Todd Brix, general manager for the Windows Store, blogged that the company has so far removed 1,500 apps, hinting that more may be removed.
The blog itself didn't go into much detail about why the apps were removed, other than saying Microsoft was removing "titles that do not comply with our modified certification requirements."
That's a mild description of a very serious problem. Recently, the How-To Geek published an investigation into the Windows Store, titled "The Windows Store is a Cesspool of Scams Why Doesnt Microsoft Care?" The article's first two paragraphs sum up the problem succinctly:
"Microsofts Windows Store is a mess. Its full of apps that exist only to scam people and take their money. Why doesnt Microsoft care that their flagship app store is such a cesspool?"
Its now been more than two years since Windows 8 was released, and this has been a problem the entire time, and it is getting worse. If Microsoft was trying to offer a safe app store to Windows users, theyve failed."
The article points out what appeared to be many scams, such as a $4.99 "VLC Player Download," which is not a download, and merely points you to download the VLC Player, which, by the way, is free. The article adds, "Search for another popular application like iTunes or Firefox and youll see similar useless garbage applications." The investigation found many fake paid apps for Adobe Flash Player, Firefox, Pandora, IMDB, Candy Crush Saga, Wechat, WhatsApp, uTorrent, Picasa, Bluestacks, Minecraft, Spotify, Google Hangouts, Picasa, Clash of Clans, Blender 3D, and others.
Even though Microsoft has purged 1,500 apps, the problem is far from solved. After the apps were removed, the How-To Geek warned,
"Theres still a lot more scam applications that they havent yet removed, so continue to beware until this mess is fully clean."
Computerworld's Gregg Keizer did some investigating of his own, and writes:
"A quick look at MetroStore Scanner, which tracks each day's new and updated apps, showed that Brix and his team have their work cut out for them. On Tuesday, according to MetroStore Scanner, 12 copies of the free KMPlayer, a media player owned by a Korean TV streaming company, were published to the Windows Store. However, the dozen KMPlayer copies -- all using the transparently copycat name of "KM* 5.1 Player" but each with a different icon -- were priced at either $0.99 or $1.99."