I made a WP7 app a while back to give a try, based on a site's API that has since been discontinued. Obviously, the app doesn't work anymore, since it was focused on content consumption from that API.
But since then, my developer license has expired. Even though I need to remove the app (somehow new users keep coming), the WP Store won't allow me to do so without an active developer license.
Too bad for the fooled users, I guess.
They need to change the conversation to one of strength. Ray Ozzie (while still at MS) was excoriated in the press for saying, "Apps don't make your phone special ... All the apps that count will be ported to every one of them." But I think he's right. Almost every app that I use every day is available on every platform, or has an excellent equivalent, but there are big gaps in niche categories and games.
Of course, there's no one in the world who doesn't work for Microsoft who loves Windows Phone even half as much as people loved their Macs in the late 90's.
The fact that Microsoft took the bait of buying into the size of the store rather than going for a curatorial approach is their own doing. Laying blame on anyone but their own decision makers for the quality of their app store doesn't make any sense.
What's crazier, is I've come to the conclusion myself that I don't care what OS my phone runs... All it needs in terms of apps are FB Messenger, and an awesome web browser that integrates with web apps like the iPhone does when you "Add To Homescreen" (the N9 was my favourite for this). Anything else is gravy, basically.
The one exception is VSCOCam. You can pry that app away from my cold, dead hands holding my iPhone, heh.
Plus, I have reasonable belief that if I click a Play Store link from Evernote's website, I'll be getting Evernote's actual app.
Seriously it's not hard to market quality over quantity successfully is it? All app users are frustrated by low quality apps it would really make me notice if MS had a properly curated app store and said "we have less apps in our store because we value you and your time; excellence is our goal and we want our app developers to strive for that too; better quality, better performance, better life" [that sounds suitably hyperbolic].
I dislike "phablets" as phones myself, so I use a Nokia phone as a phone (much better phone quality and longer battery life) and have an Android phone as a tablet with 3G.
Also, there are lots of smaller versions of Android phones, the S4 mini might not be what you want but it sells really well over here.
'The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. '
When Windows Phone 7 first came along, a lot of the tech press liked to simply score the platforms by the number of apps.
Microsoft originally were pretty hot at stopping the 'free' or 'light' versions of apps being entered, as anything on their store can have a trail mode. From a usability perspective this is just great. However people would compare the app count against android, not discounting the android apps that were just trails etc.
So sadly, as long as people keep talking about app count, it is not in the interest of MS to cleanse it.
* not part of the press
As a geek who uses the pretence he needs to evaluate all the platforms, I've iOS, Andriod, WP8, W8 devices. I have apps that I love which are only-on/muchbetter-on one platform. It is very hard to compare and contrast them. As much as I find my Lumia 1020 the most useful, and pleasurable to use device, I also have to have an Android or iOS tablet because of a must have app (SkyDemon if you are curious).
These shortcuts, comparing just the app count, provide a way of letting people summarise the complex underlying problem.
Microsoft has a lot of talent, but it seems that too many divisions have people in power that are very, very bad at their jobs, which undermines the whole business. It's a shame, because a lot of their efforts show potential.
Windows Phone, Xbox One, Windows 8, have all had tragic blunders. The products seem to do so many things right, but suffered unnecessarily due to some astoundingly bad upper management decisions. They really need to solve that problem. I'm not sure that replacing Gates as chairman with the former CEO of Symantec, who led them through their bloat years and destroyed any good products they had, is a good start. I don't know anything about this new CEO though.
The reason I even knew this was because a Microsoft rep came to my school to promote it. He did a workshop that basically taught us how to submit apps to the windows store. Part of the process was making a boilerplate app that we used a third party application to make. The entire class, about 20 students, made similar "whack a mole" game apps, all of which successfully submitted. We all got 100 dollars and all of our apps are still in the store.
Go ahead and check it out; I promise it's as horrible as it looks.
Which is a very strong argument for not using idiotic performance metrics (the app count is almost certainly built into multiple levels of policy goals at MSFT).
Or, as I like to say: be careful of what you incent for. You will get it.
The real meat is in producing results -- a reason I've found CPM or clickthroughs or readership, or other forms of measurement to be somewhere between irrelevant and misleading. It's why promo codes (including branded URLs such as http://product.example.com/npr , say) are used (they track responses). Similarly coupons or other special deals.
Don Marti's long argued that highly-targeted advertising actually has strongly negative. That it's the very wastefulness of mass advertising that's a powerful part of the signal:
Quoting Evan Davis et al: “It is not so much the claims made by advertisers that are helpful, but the fact that they are willing to spend extravagant amounts of money on a product that is informative.”
Of course, this can backfire: if I'm aware that a specific advertiser (or industry) has a long history of deceptive advertising or trade practices, I may read their ads as a negative signal (as, in fact, I do for many mass-market consumer goods: if you've got to spend that much money convincing me this is something worth buying, it's quite possibly not).
That's not to say the Play store doesn't drive me to distraction sometimes... I recently had to look at over a dozen flashlight apps to find one or two that weren't spamming me with ads and looking at my personal information.
PS: Here's the Mac App Store 'Facebook' search: http://i.imgur.com/8o8mveb.png
About your screenshot - maybe I'm missing something, but where in the results is the official Facebook app? Do they hide already installed apps?
I can't speak for others, but for me the Microsoft dominance has been a pain until I started mastering Linux. I am very happy if it is confirmed that HN actively removes links about Microsoft, just as a cold personal feeling of street justice. So it's not HN, it's the crowd of geeks.
On the other hand I don't see why HN would do that. Sounds like a loss of time and a PR risk. Maybe your content was average quality, maybe it wasn't cool enough, maybe it contained inappropriate contents. Please refer to the guidelines  to check whether your content had a chance to survive.
Disclosure: I work for Microsoft, but not in the Windows Phone division.
It looks like only the official apps have the official name and the other things are just add ons or silly, small value additions to Facebook, Chrome, or Firefox.
Having said that, that is a shit load of low quality crap, but all app stores have junk like that including the iOS app store.
I agree that the Windows App Store examples are way more egregious, but some of the apps in the Google store are nearly as bad. Top right among the Facebook examples is especially deceptive.
Compare that with the Windows Store screenshot where there's literally no way to tell which is the real one.
The existence of this problem is shitty, absolutely, but on Android and iOS there exist viable, discoverable workarounds. On Windows Store...
Apple seems to have done a good job hiding the cruft, at least for "top-100" searches of "companies you hear about on the nightly news" (Facebook, Vine, Snapchat, etc.). When my mom searches Facebook on her iPhone, she's absolutely going to get the right app. Based on these results, I'm not at all convinced of that if she were an Android or WP user.
In order for Microsoft to succeed in this market (and to satisfy its customers and legitimate app developers), Microsoft has to step its game up, in general, as high as possible, not settling for whatever will be perceived as about as decent as Android.
If Best Buy doesn't want to sell my PC software, I can sell it through other channels.
If Apple doesn't want to sell my iOS software, I can't.
Android lets you sell stuff outside of the play store - look how well the Humble Android bundles do.
1. New platform with not many apps
2. Gotta play Apple's game and tout the app count
3. Devs plz more apps kthxbye; don't worry about quality -- we'll look the other way and hose down criticism with excuses
4. Consumers see how desolate, harsh, and unusable the whole ecosystem is -- further rerouting them to Apple
5. Goto 1, with more gusto and a new reorg
But now I'm actually shocked how many apps/games are available on Windows Phone. Jetpack Joyride, Subway Surfers, Minion Rush are three popular games on other platforms that I recently installed for my youngest son while at my older son's basketball game recently.
...and as a former 6 year user of iPhones, the "Kids Corner" that is on Windows Phone totally separates kid-approved activities (games) from non-kid-approved activities (my email, twitter, facebook, etc). That feature alone is worth upgrading to Windows Phone if you have kids that occasionally use your phone.
They just wanted to boost their numbers artificially, and they were willing to pay hundreds to students for making these crappy things.
Blackberry recently paid developers to port apps to their platform. Is that "artificially boosting their numbers", or just smart marketing? I don't see any problems with this.
For many it wasn't clear it would be a Nokia Asha phone, but, still, they got a crapload of young students writing apps for them.
Privacy policies not being "good" enough, no location tracking switch in a "location aware" app, little to no experiences from other developers(typical stackoverflow trouble shooting becoming impossible), worse app approval process than Apple.. the list goes on. This being in a platform which they're trying to push. :(
There are a lot of things to complain about the Windows Store but from a consumer's point of view that's not one if them.
Physical stores have buyers who inspect products, negotiate, and select. App stores need to the same thing.
It's been a long time since I've bought anything on an app store. There's just way too much crap to wade through, making it a waste of time.
I suppose if I wanted the real Facebook app for Windows Phone, I'd just go to Google and search for:
site:facebook.com app "windows phone"
Most people aren't going to do that though.
As you can see its not done :(
MS should at least have some sort of search filter to say "please only show apps that have been reviewed by a human or two and are not obvious crap".
The fact that this app exists tells there's a problem with the Windows store search.
But as the OP says, they're also plenty of good quality apps: from small tools like the Bill reminder, or non-shady flashlights apps which doesn't require an Internet connection and your phonebook address, to an official GTA San Andreas.
We recently released a Windows 8 app , categorized as news, pretty cool I'd modestly say... but if you search for "news" it takes 10 pages of horizontal scroll to find Theneeds... and most of the app out there are really poor (I'd modestly say :)
Another problem I noticed at the time (I don't know if it is still the case) was that the store was flooded with fake reviews. Painfully obviously fake. So you have to try before you buy - which fortunately they do make very easy.
Maybe the offending WP app makers are in a legal jurisdiction beyond Facebook's reach?
"Google is so ridiculous that they're willing to lose big money by not making its glorified ad service on the platform."
On the contrary, Google is brilliant by not wasting their time and money on an irrelevant platform that has no hope for success and market share adoption.
Unfortunately, cleaning junk out of the store is counter to that goal.
I recommend you Windows Phone :)
It cost me $199 and all I got was Windows_installer.exe, what a horrible joke. Well, let's try to get my hands on a Windows machine and proceed to generate installable boot image from the downloaded files. That went quite well, but I was furious at this point.
Ok, let's install and boot into my fresh Windows 8. That went fine. Next, let's try to activate it, and it says: 'This product key can only be used for Windows updates'.
Microsoft, are you kidding me? At that point I decided that I won't ever touch any Microsoft products even with a ten foot pole. I don't trust them, they are liars, and their products suck. Microsoft will not improve.
Look at that page: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Windows-...
Then tell me how that is not lying to your customers? The information that this product is just an update from existing Windows installation is at the bottom of the page, no one reads that!
MS has cost me a lot in time and money, and this is something I try to avoid.
It's mind-boggling. From which point in the organisation does this insanity stem? I want to like Microsoft, but shit like this makes me feel like a fool for ever giving them a chance. Seriously. Good thing my next phone is a Nexus... great job Microsoft. Way to build loyalty among your customers. And Steve Ballmer has the nerve to call MS "ethical" and "forward-thinking."
Anyone reading this who works at Microsoft - I am genuinely curious - how do you sleep at night?
Dude. Do you really think that everyone who works at Microsoft is responsible for or even has the ability to change their app store?