Much like any other app portal, the Windows Store also shelters home to several fake apps. If you’re not careful enough, you could end up downloading - and more often than not, paying for - a fake counterpart of the app you’re looking for. Microsoft has until now maintained silence on this matter, but the company today has finally acknowledged this concerning issue.
Many of you may have found several entries for the popular VLC app for Windows 8. However, if you are under the impression that VLC is the only app which has several dozens of its fake counterparts available on the Store, then you’re seriously mistaken. How-to-Geek investigated on this matter, and found that there are several more such apps polluting the ecosystem.
How-to Geek was able to find fake paid versions of WhatsApp, uTorrent, IMDB, Candy Crush, Adobe Flash Player, Spotify, Google Hangouts, Picasa, Clash of Clans, Pandora, and Firefox - among several others. Editor's note: The first app I literally looked for was the popular game title Flappy Bird. As you can see pictured above, there are plenty of knock-offs available on the Windows Store. Interestingly enough, the app hasn't even been released for Windows 8!
Microsoft said this in a recent statement.
We strive to make the Windows Store a high-quality experience for customers and also accessible to the broadest audience of developers. Based on customer and developer feedback, we recently took actions to help users discover the specific app titles they’re searching for and improve the overall Store experience. Those updates provide clear guidance to developers and also improve our ability to identify, audit and remove problematic apps. We recognize that there is more work to do and will continue to re-evaluate our policies to strike a balance between the opportunity for developers and the app quality that our customers expect.
Back in June of this year, we investigated the same subject, in a piece we titled, "Dealing with fake, misleading and copyright infringing apps: Microsoft responds." We learned that Microsoft encourages users and app developers alike to be more involved in reporting fake or scam apps. Microsoft may have their own measures in place, but it is far from foolproof.
Have you ever accidentally downloaded the knock-off version of an application?