Microsoft updated the policies of Microsoft Store on June 16, 2022. They change how publishers may charge users for software. The company takes under control extremely high prices and selling of open source apps.
The new rules are part of the policies version 10.8.7. They should eliminate paid and simply fake versions of apps like VLC, 7-zip, and GIMP. In many cases, only a paid app is only available on the Store, without the genuine free software presented there.
In cases where you determine the pricing for your product or in-app purchases, all pricing, including sales or discounting, for your digital products or services must:
Comply with all applicable laws, regulations and regulatory guidelines, including without limitation, the Federal Trade Commission Guides Against Deceptive Pricing.
Not 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.
So, if a paid app on Store has a version generally available on the Internet, it will be removed, as this is against the new policies. It is worth nothing that some of the app developers sell their free apps exclusively in Microsoft's app hub. For example, the popular Paint.NET image editor has an official paid release in the Microsoft Store, while it is available as a free download on the product's web site.
Microsoft also invents protection against copycat products. So one app must not pretend to be another app. This should eliminate fake versions of apps that pretend to be Firefox, Chrome and Edge on the Store, but actually are just paid books, tutorials and extensions.
The changes will significantly decrease the number of apps available on the Store. Microsoft is now fighting for software quality and not for just numbers. As you know, the Store in Windows 11 allows submitting any apps of any type. This includes classic Desktop apps, Modern UWPs, Progressive Web Apps, and so on. So Microsoft is interested in keeping the Store clean from non-genuine stuff. It should be a reliable software source for the Windows users, similar to app repositories on other popular platforms.
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One thought on “Microsoft to stop selling free open source apps in the Windows Store”
This is frustrating for some developers who choose to require donations in order for smoother automatic updates like Paint.NET does.