Microsoft Store has updated its Distributor Policy and, while it arrives later than desirable, they will finally abuse certain limits more or less common in the Windows App Store.
According to gHacks, the new Microsoft Store policy users will like it very much, because they choose their sidebut not so much for certain developers or distributors, as they will prevent them from trading, in some cases in a somewhat delicate way.
But let us better explain what the change consists of, for the holder gives for what he gives. Specifically, from now on ban exorbitant prices in the Microsoft Store† What is an exorbitant price? The term itself says it all, and there are smart people who will wait for an unwary person to fall into their trap by exorbitantly priced on applications that don’t deserve it.
So developers won’t be able to price their applications at the price they want? Yes and no: you can, but with limits set by common sense… and by the moderation exercised by the Microsoft Store. In other words, all those impudent people who took an application and paid a much higher price than those of the same category in the hope that some careless person would buy it without paying much attention to it, the story is over.
However, the most delicate and defining element of the new Microsoft Store policy is in free applications and especially open source.
Microsoft Store: No more charging for free apps
Like it is. Microsoft Store won’t let you sell apps for free† That is, those applications that can be obtained for free outside the store cannot require payment in it. Neither do open source applications, that’s the most delicate aspect of the measure.
It is common for open source and free applications – which by the way do not always coincide – to be distributed more or less well-known through third-party stores, usually linked to a specific platform. And it’s common for them to do it with a price. There are many examples of this: applications that cost money in the Microsoft Store or Google Play, but can be downloaded for free on their respective websites, and even in alternative stores.
F-Droid is one of those sites where you can find free open source applications that cost money on Google Play
Why do developers do this? It’s a way to help fund the project: if you want it for free, come to my website; if you prefer the convenience of the store, pay for it. It’s that simple. Anyway, this procedure is going to endat least in the Microsoft Store.
It’s fair? Because the question of whether it is legal is quickly answered: it is. The Microsoft Store is not a public square. Whether it’s fair… It depends who you ask. For me it’s: open source software doesn’t have to be free, but if it is, then it should be free in all the scenarios it works in. Partly because it is playing with security.
Of course it is good to be thankful and any open source application user would do well to donate something from time to time because nothing is really free in this world. You may not pay for it, but the developer will get it done with its time. The same goes for free applications, which are not open source.
Aside from the potential controversy caused by this change, the Microsoft Store will also put an end to another abuse that happens regularly, in addition to open source applications: no more copies of real open source apps† And yes, there have been many examples of this in recent years.
The GIMP example is clear
Here’s how it’s explained: open source software allows certain licenses – precisely because of the licenses – such as copying, distribution, and sale by third parties outside of the official developer. Take the awesome Kdenlive video editor as an example. Anyone can use its source code, rename it, upload it to the Microsoft Store, and ask for a price. It is legal and legitimatethough the moral debate is another story.
What happens when the Microsoft Store is flooded with clone applications from open source originals that not only confuse the user but can also lead to security vulnerabilities due to poor maintenance or directly malicious behavior. Well, they can not only harm the image of the official developer, they can also harm the common user.
If the proposed changes are made, the Microsoft Store will remove all open source app clones, incentivizing downloading of the original apps that are present.
It is, again, a clause that can cause controversy, but it benefits users, reliable developers and we are still not talking about a public square, despite the fact that major distribution points such as Microsoft Store, Google Play or the App Store also cannot be a farm, due to their importance to the ecosystem of software and services of their respective platforms.
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