Microsoft Asks Windows Phone Developers To Keep The Quality Up And The Sex Down

Microsoft is trying to clean up the Windows Phone Marketplace and as part of this effort, the company just clarified some of its guidelines for developers who want to sell their apps in Microsoft’s app store. Among other things, Microsoft has decided to move to “a more stringent interpretation and enforcement of our existing content policy” for apps that are “‘racy’ or sexual in nature.” This is a problem we pointed out early last month. As Matt Burns put it, Windows Phone has a nasty porn addiction. Microsoft clearly agrees and is thankfully trying to kick the habit.

Microsoft, just like most of its competitors, doesn’t allow apps that contain “sexually suggestive or provocative” images or content. Swimsuits are fine. The company says that it will now pay “more attention to the icons, titles, and content of these apps and expects them to be more subtle and modest in the imagery and terms used.”

According to Todd Brix, Microsoft’s senior director of the Marketplace, the company will contact those developers whose “racy” apps slipped through the earlier approval process and ask them to change their apps. Microsoft says that it is making this change to improve the shopping experience for all of its customers. It will also monitor its customers’ reactions and may remove apps that its users find offensive.

Here are some of the images that would be acceptable under these new rules:

Given all the problems Apple had with its rules for adult-themed apps, it’s probably a good idea for Microsoft to be proactive here.

There are currently about 70,000 apps in the Marketplace and the store is growing nicely, though there have been some complaints about the quality of the apps in the store. In this context, Brix also used this opportunity to remind developers to keep the quality of their apps up.

Developers, for example, aren’t allowed to submit the same app to multiple categories and can’t use more than five keywords per app. Since its launch, developers have also been trying to game the Marketplace by tagging their apps with popular tags (“Justin Bieber,” “YouTube” etc.) that had little or nothing to do with their apps. Microsoft now plans to crack down on this, too.