Recently, we reported that Microsoft was repackaging popular mobile websites into what the company calls 'webapps' for Windows Phone. In essence, these so-called apps simply offer you the mobile website, but do not offer you the native app experience. Now, it looks like some of these apps are getting removed from the Store.
Our pals over at Neowin broke the story pointing out that several of these so-called apps were no longer available in the Windows Phone Store. For example, the Cars.com app and Southwest Airlines app are no longer available after 24hrs of being in the Store. The Atari Arcade webapp is also no longer available. Neowin received a statement from Southwest Airlines about the app's removal and this is what they had to say:
"We have been in communication with Microsoft but have not given them approval to push our content. After realizing our discussions are still early, Microsoft removed our content from the store," a Southwest Airlines spokesperson stated.
These "apps" are from Microsoft WebApps and there are around fifty of these free apps available for download in the Windows Phone Store. Some of the apps include TMZ, Cars.com, PetSmart, The Food Network, and more. Some of these apps even have high ratings.
It seems that Microsoft is desperately trying to add more apps into its Windows Phone Store in an attempt to woo developers into creating apps for a seemingly flourishing ecosystem and woo consumers into purchasing Windows Phone devices at the same time. At least, that's how this seems. Some can argue that this is Microsoft's way to slowly add some missing apps to the Windows Phone Store.
It seems like Microsoft assumed these companies wouldn't mind seeing a webapp version of their mobile site, but apparently Microsoft was mistaken. We will update this post once Microsoft offers a statement regarding the matter.
Update: Microsoft has offered a response: "Web Apps drive more people to the company’s own website experience, as designed for mobile browsing, so we don’t anticipate many objections. We will move quickly to resolve any takedown requests we receive. Website owners are welcome to contact us at [email protected] We’re being very transparent about what these apps are by publishing under the “Microsoft Web Apps” name and clearly describing them as website accessories in the descriptions.”