Emerging Technology

Desperate Microsoft repackages websites as Windows Phone apps without permission – violating its own terms of service

Andrew Sadauskas /

Microsoft has begun repackaging third-party websites as “web apps” in a bid to increase the number of apps available in its Windows Phone app store without the site owner’s permission, potentially violating its own terms of service in the process.

According to ZDNet, Microsoft released 50 of its “WebApps”, which are third-party websites packaged up to look like a mobile app.

In a statement, Microsoft says that the aim of the program is to “encourage” the companies to publish their apps for Windows.

“We are helping people access great mobile experiences on Windows Phone by creating pinnable Web Apps that show up in the app list.

“These are not a replacement for native apps. In most cases we hope that usage of the Web App will encourage the ISV to publish its own native app,” Microsoft states.

The action appears to be a clear violation of the company’s own terms of service for app developers.

“Your app and metadata must have distinct, substantial and legitimate content and purpose.

“Your app must be fully functional when acquired from the Windows Phone Store and it must provide functionality other than launching a webpage.

“Your app must not be unreasonably priced in relation to the functionality of the app.”

The latest news comes just days after Microsoft had to halt the rollout of Windows 8.1 to users of its Surface RT tablet, pulling the upgrade from the Windows Store.

“Windows RT 8.1. Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1.

“As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience.

“We will provide updates as they become available,” Microsoft says on its support forum.

 

The news comes as Microsoft plans a Nokia smartphone launch event in Abu Dhabi and the launch of its Surface 2 tablet later today in a bid to overshadow an Apple iPad launch event.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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