Apple is often criticized for its strict App Store guidelines that prevent all kinds of titles from being approved. But the state of the Windows Store proves strict guidelines are a necessity.
Microsoft’s marketplace is currently littered with apps that allow users to illegally stream movies and TV shows for free. There’s also a range of titles that provide access to pirated music.
Microsoft has always had a problem keeping the Windows Store clean. It doesn’t provide developers with free reign like Google, but its guidelines are nowhere near as strict as Apple’s, which means a lot of tripe slips through the net.
Over the years, the Windows Store has been plagued by pirated apps and games, clones of other popular titles, and downright crumby creations that don’t do as advertised. Developers have also complained about broken search, bad decisions, and poor revenue.
Microsoft has already outlawed console emulators due to copyright concerns, but now it has a problem with pirated movies and music. Torrent Freak reports that there are a whole bunch of apps in the Windows Store that promise access to free movies, TV shows, and music.
Most of them work, providing access to the latest blockbusters and the hottest albums for free. They have hundreds of four- and five-star reviews from happy users, and many have even made their way into the Store’s “trending apps” section.
“Most of the applications work on multiple platforms including PC, mobile, and the Xbox,” reads the report. “They are pretty easy to use and rely on the familiar grid-based streaming interface most sites and services use. Pick a movie or TV-show, click the play button, and off you go.”
These apps aren’t disguised as something innocent; many have names like “Free Movies HD” and “Free Movies Online.” Their descriptions explicitly state that they offer the latest Hollywood movies — many of which aren’t even available on DVD yet — free of charge.
What’s more, most are filled with ads, earning their creators money every time you open them — and some of those ads are facilitated through Microsoft’s own Ad Monetization platform.
“After hours of going through the pirate app offerings, it’s clear that Microsoft’s “trusted” Windows Store is ridden with unauthorized content,” adds Torrent Freak.
Microsoft is yet to comment on this issue, but we expect it to start culling these titles as soon as it realizes the Windows Store is under fire for carrying them.