Microsoft updates Store policy to allow sales of OSS apps from legit creators and licensed parties

July 19, 2022
Microsoft Store

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Last week, a Microsoft Store policy preventing the sale of open-source apps caused an uproar in the developer community. The statement confused many developers who expressed disappointment, and Microsoft promised to make a “review to make sure the intent is clear.” After that, Microsoft released a new policy that now allows open-source apps in the store on the condition that they are listed by the original creator or properly licensed party.

The updated policy 11.2 reads:

“All content in your product and associated metadata must be either originally created by the application provider, appropriately licensed from the third-party rights holder, used as permitted by the rights holder, or used as otherwise permitted by law. Reporting infringement complaints can be done via our online form.”

This new policy replaces the former that stated developers must not “attempt to profit from open-source or other software that is otherwise generally available for free, nor be priced irrationally high relative to the features and functionality provided by your product.”

The old policy was intended to prevent copycats from benefiting from making listings in the Microsoft Store using open-source apps that they don’t own. However, the policy implied it would cover all OSS apps, even those owned by legit creators.

Giorgio Sardo, Engineering General Manager in the Experiences and Devices organization at Microsoft Corp, defended the old policy, saying they “absolutely want to support developers distributing successfully OSS apps” and that the objective of the policy was “to protect customers from misleading listings.”

Finally, the intention is made clear with the new update made. Sardo announced in a tweet the latest changes to the policy.

“Last month, we shared a few updates to Microsoft Store policies to help protect customers from misleading product listings. We heard your feedback, and today we made a change to policy 10.8.7 and 11.2,” the tweet reads. “To clarify our intent, we removed the previous mention to open source pricing. We’re committed to building an open Store and enabling dev choice and flexibility. If there are intellectual property concerns about an app, please report it … There are many great free and paid OSS apps in the Microsoft Store, and we look forward to welcoming more.”

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