AH Tech Talk: Microsoft Supports Scam Artists By Not Pulling Bogus Apps For Two Years

AH Microsoft Logo 1.0

Anytime anyone mentions the word “Windows” when talking about operating systems, among the first things to pop into their minds are viruses, malware or even some sort of scam. There was a point in time where I completely stopped using windows for a couple years to escape these atrocities and that decision has treated me well. It seems that it has gotten much worse than I would have ever imagined with the advent of the Windows Store and Microsoft’s new found desperation. As it turns out, Microsoft might actually be making money off scams located in their very own windows store even though Microsoft has sworn that they are meticulously testing each and every application that they allow into the Windows Store. It would seem that Microsoft doesn’t intend to change my perception of them or their product.

In a frantic attempt to lure consumers into purchasing certain Windows devices Microsoft, knowing that one of their weaknesses was the paltry amount of apps in their store, held a promotion called “Keep The Cash” in which Microsoft would pay developers a hundred dollars for each app that they submit to the Windows Store. The plan it self might not have been a bad one but the execution was horrendous and is the result of laziness. It didn’t matter to Microsoft what kind of app a developer created, so long as it was an app that would increase the number of apps in their store. Here is the major problem that was created because of Microsoft’s immense oversight. If one developer created a really good app, in which this person invested sweat and tears, no blood, let’s keep this PG, which took him or her months to create and another developer created ten links to a web page, the one who created the ten links is the one who would collect $1000. This is the stupidest thing that I’ve heard all day.

Unfortunately, this situation doesn’t end at just being silly for many Windows users who did try to utilize the Microsoft Store in order to more easily download some apps. These people ended up getting ripped off. A simple search in the Windows Store will reveal some of the shadiest things that I’ve ever seen in any digital application store and my experience with them dates all the way back to the catalog on the Sidekick line of devices and the Synaptic Package Manager on certain Linux distros. An innocent search for something like one of my favorite apps and I’m sure that a lot of people like it as well, VLC, will turn up a bunch of fakes. These apps aren’t harmless to the user either because they actually trick the unsuspecting consumer who is not as knowledgeable about the tech world into paying to download VLC, the open source media player! Some of these fake VLC apps can cost as much as $4.99. At least the official app shows up in the list first. Though some users might judge a book by the cover and  choose a logo that they think looks prettier. Please people, don’t do this.

Though VLC is very popular I’m sure that iTunes and Firefox are even more popular and sure enough, their names and logos were also used to trick people into paying for these free downloads. For example, an app called Itunes Player app which is described as a “Player app helps user to know how to use and download itunes which is mostly used” costs $8.99. All this app does is teach a user how to download, install and use iTunes. A simple Google search could have saved these people $8.99. Microsoft’s lackadaisical attitude even allowed them to ignore these bogus apps populating the search results area when searching for an application using the search charm. How could anyone not see or ignore this? There is no possible way that none of them in that massive company chose to never use FireFox. They must have at least installed it in order to pay attention to their competition, right? There then should never be an excuse as to why over 100,000 people could have missed all these  brazen ripoffs. Did no one at Microsoft know that FireFox still has yet to make a metro app? Does no one know that the giant that is Apple also has yet to make one either yet there are apps bearing the Firefox and Apple logos in their Store?

I think Microsoft is well aware of facts such as this but are too busy thumping their chests about the number of apps in their store to actually care. I also think that the situation could actually be worse. Microsoft makes at least 30% off the sale of each application that makes a sale in the Windows Store and these bogus applications do actually make make money. Since 1+1=2, Microsoft is still getting paid. We have also yet to hear anything about Microsoft shutting these apps down and refunding customers and this has been going on for two years now. Microsoft seems to be profiting off the ignorance of many consumers but what’s new? Still, Microsoft should do something about this situation now before this turns into a PR nightmare.