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Summary:

Microsoft started packaging some popular websites as WebApps for its Windows Phone Store, but has now removed at least one of those apps for failing to tell the content owner beforehand.

Microsoft WebApps
photo: Microsoft

Windows Phone is now home to some big name apps, but it still lags behind Android and iOS(aapl) dramatically. In an apparent move to introduce some additional content to the Windows Phone Store, Microsoft has taken matters into its own hands by creating WebApps, which are essentially websites packaged to look like apps. Now a few of those apps have been removed — and one company is saying it wasn’t even notified about the app beforehand.

Southwest Airlines requested its WebApp be removed from the Windows Phone Store. In a statement to Neowin, a Southwest spokesperson said, ”We have been in communication with Microsoft but have not given them approval to push our content. After realizing our discussions are still early, Microsoft removed our content from the store.”

Atari Arcade and Cars.com WebApps have been pulled as well, though it isn’t clear if it was for the same reason as Southwest.

In a statement to the Verge, Microsoft clarified:

“In most cases we hope that usage of the Web App will encourage the ISV to publish its own native app. Web Apps drive more people to the company’s own website experience, as designed for mobile browsing, so we don’t anticipate many objections. We will move quickly to resolved any takedown requests we receive.”

Interestingly, Microsoft’s WebApps have brought up the question of whether they violate Microsoft’s own app-development policies. One of its requirements states that a Windows Phone app needs to do more than simply launch a web page.  But according to ZDNet, it looks like Microsoft is probably skirting around this policy by rendering the content within the app, rather than simply directing you to a site.

The Windows Phone platform is currently home to approximately 175,000 apps, according to Microsoft. And the comapny’s WebApps page shows less than 50 apps right now, so Microsoft probably isn’t using them as a huge push towards the million apps available in iOS and Android. Still, it shows that Microsoft is aware that there’s a considerable app gap, and it needs to do something to compete with other platforms.

  1. this all sounds like a sad attempt at catching up

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