Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Google Apps in Windows Phone Store ... Apparently

So over the weekend I was browsing the Windows Phone store and I found this;


This is a screenshot from a Nokia 925 phone. Now I've got some experience with Mobile and I'm pretty sure that if Google had decided to rollout it's apps to Windows Phone I'd have noticed a press release, review, or something so I was curious.

Here's the next page;


So the publisher of "Google Maps" on Windows Phone is "Free Unlimited Downloader". Yes. That seems likely doesn't it? Well Google must have licensed the maps to them as under Microsoft's app approval policy (see here);
"3.1 All content in your app 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."
And the application was approved so therefore Microsoft must have seen the license they held right? I mean Google has clearly licensed "Free Unlimited Downloader" to use its name, logo, and Maps. Right? I mean it's not like Microsoft can point to a misplaced comma this time;

Microsoft pulls fake Google apps from the Windows Phone Store, but doesn’t fix larger approval process problem (courtesy thenextweb.com)

As of 9th September these apps are still available (despite me reporting them a few days ago) via this web store;

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/store/app/google-maps/7c0e17e7-349c-4a4a-abb5-9aaf30b145a0

Here's a screen capture;



I wonder how long it will take Microsoft to pull these (and how quickly the inevitable replacements will take to appear)? I wonder if the 1000+ people who have given this app favourable reviews (and their user data) will be compensated?

One thing is for sure this costs Microsoft *nothing*. In fact being able to show Google apps on their devices may even have made them some money.

I wonder if Microsoft would be quite so cavalier with it's own intellectual property.



As a side note; What I really like is the list of what this application requires;

"Phone identity; owner identity; location services; maps; photos library; microphone; data services; phone dialer; movement and directional sensor; web browser component"

On the plus side "phone identity" and "owner identity" don't seem to be as bad as they appear - they are just unique identifiers for the user/ device (see here). However "phone dialer" is a bit more worrying - will this device be able to dial the phone by itself? There's no clue on Microsoft's website;

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/How-to/wp8/apps/how-can-i-tell-if-an-app-has-requirements

So how can the users make an informed decision? Oh that's right, they can't.

UPDATE: As of 28th October (I'll be honest -I've not been checking every day) these apps are no longer available. I hope the authors got the data they wanted ...

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