Microsoft criticised for the Windows 10 app store – poor algorithms highlighted

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/George Clerk)

Users of Windows 10 are often frustrated at the lack of applications for its app store, but it's a situation which isn't going to improve unless developers are happy. The fact is, developers aren't happy, and part of the reason is because Microsoft's lacklustre app store algorithms do not give applications the exposure they deserve – often not showing them whatsoever. 

Developers will invest their efforts where their applications will be used, and will be most profitable. Many flock to iOS because it offers decent exposure, and software for the operating system is often highly profitable. Android is a similar narrative, in fact Google's algorithms often prove even more accurate than iOS' because of their search experience.

Why should any developer create an app for Windows 10, if the sales will likely be zero?

Microsoft should at least trump Apple when it comes to discovery. It might not be as widely-used as Google, but those who have used Bing know how powerful the platform is when it comes to search and deep learning. Microsoft even went as far as to build programmable chips that specialize in search, which is what makes it even more confusing why their app store in Windows 10 still can't seem to get it right. 

One coder, Nikolaus Gebhardt, has got to a point where he's published an article called "Why you should not develop apps for Windows 10". In the post, he wrote: "Since Windows 10 arrived, the sales of all of my apps, which have been very low compared to other apps stores, have gone down significantly, nearly to zero (even the one I upgraded to Windows 10)," 

"And it is not surprising that this is the case: You cannot find my apps anywhere in the app store. Unless you know the exact name of my app, you won't find it. You can type any of the keywords my apps have in their title, description or even in the list of keywords submitted to the store, and it won't list my apps," he explained. 

Interestingly, Gebhardt claims he never had the issues with the Windows 8 app store. The complaints are despite Microsoft claiming the experience for both users and developers has improved in Windows 10, and the company even wrote a blog post saying the new app store will "create new developer opportunity in 2016.

The post, which correctly identifies Windows 10's skyrocketing adoption being a potential driver of app downloads, also lists one of its new app store features as "increased app discoverability" - which clearly hasn't been the case. To further the damage, Gebhardt contacted Microsoft support for help but was only told "we do not control or guarantee the way an app is found within the store." 

When the folks at Redmond face an uphill battle to attract developers to Windows, this is not the kind of publicity they can afford. For observers, it's frustrating to see Microsoft's long-standing good reputation with developers being tarnished. 

"Why should any developer create an app for Windows 10, if the sales will likely be zero?" Gebhardt concluded. 

Have you had any experience with the Windows 10 app store? Let us know in the comments.

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