Microsoft to mobile devs: ‘Don’t make those Windows apps too sexy’

May 1, 2012

Presumably, much if not all the same guidelines would apply to the Marketplace for Windows 8 tablet apps that is currently in beta. The first Windows 8 tablets are expected to be rolled out this fall. 

Much of the blog discussed standard trademark and copyright issues as well as guidelines for targeting app submissions into the right categories to enhance discovery. 

But a section under the subhead “Refining our approach to content policy enforcement” aims to clarify what Microsoft’s Todd Brix says is an issue that affects all major app stores, namely, apps are “racy” or sexual in nature. 

This has in fact been an issue for Apple which has rejected apps for overt sexual content. 

“Items that some customers view as entertainment, others may consider inappropriate. This is a challenge for any big retailer, whether they operate online or down the street,” says Brix. 

Microsoft won’t allow allow apps containing “sexually suggestive or provocative images or content,” Brix added. “What we do permit is the kind of content you occasionally see on prime-time TV or the pages of a magazine’s swimsuit issue.”

That last reference is interesting since Sports Illustrated's famous swimsuit issue, featuring models in the skimpiest of bathing suits, is not without controversy. After receiving complaints about some of the images, SI now gives subscribers the option to opt out of having the annual swimsuit mailed to them. 

While the thrust of Microsoft’s policies aren’t new, Brix says the software giant is now “paying more attention to the icons, titles, and content of these apps and expect them to be more subtle and modest in the imagery and terms used. Apps that don’t fit our standard will need to be updated to remain in the store.”

He also suggested developers impacted by the restrictions could find “plenty of creative and appropriate ways to comply: showing male or female models in silhouette, for example, is one possible alternative," he said. 

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