UPDATE (15/6/2013) – I finally received a response from the Windows Phone Store team. Page Manager will be back in the Store soon! Thank you for your support everyone 🙂
In my response to the Windows Phone Store team, I shared my honest feedback about this whole experience in a respectful manner. My hope is that the team will improve as a whole so that any such experience in the future, for myself or any other developer, will not be a daunting one.
I plan to write a follow up post on what I have observed throughout this experience and intend to share my thoughts on how I believe Microsoft can not only improve their relationship with developers, but redefine it in such a manner that the synergy between the two will be unlike any other relationship in the tech industry.
I am aware that writing blog posts is not the best mechanism to instigate change, but if any of the members of the Microsoft team are willing to connect with me, I’d be more than glad to share constructive and meaningful feedback and suggestions to them. We are all on the same team here. Working together will benefit us all.
If you’d like to read the original post, please read on.
The app has been off the Store for over a month now, which has led to a lot of disappointed Windows Phone 7/8 users (I get emails from them everyday!) and to some extent, lost revenue (which, honestly, I don’t care about).
It was never about the money. I created this app to meet a simple need and make my contribution to the platform.
Here’s a small sample from the messages I have received from users.
- Tomas – I would like to download your app Page manager to my Lumia 920, but I cant. Even when i change the region and country (in phone settings) to USA its not possible to download it.
- Husni – I need this software for my Samsung Ativ S WP8.
- Mika – When will you republish your app?
- Shiro – What’s region and country to buy your app?
- Chris – Any chance of making the app available in the UK!!
- Nor – I am hoping and I will pray for that as I really needs that app, I need to check my page regularly and it is very difficult to rely on my notebook.
- Brent – I am pissed excuse the language..you had one of the best apps on windows phone, I just upgraded to wp8 and right before found out your app had been pulled. There is no other app that comes close to what yours did, I can not post on pages I admin… Facebook should buy your idea rather than having your app pulled. You had a great app will be missed greatly :'(
- Tommi – I’ve searched for another app for Facebook pages but there isn’t or sucks.
- Lisa – I had this app on my new Nokia Lumia. I had to get my phone replaced and cannot download this great app anymore??
I was foolish enough to use the official Facebook logo in my app icon. I admit my mistake. What surprised me is that I was allowed to publish the app and it remained in the Store for over a year before I got the content infringement notice from Microsoft on 8/5.
I had to immediately take down the application. I unpublished the app, minutes after I recieved the email from Microsoft. If I wanted to republish the app, I had to fill the attached counter form and then email the legal team as well as the DMCA team. I didn’t have access to lawyers, nor could I afford them. There was no indication that I would receive any sort of help from Microsoft. In the end, with the help of a good friend, I finally send it off on 29/5. Besides an automated response to my email, I have not heard anything back from them.
Throughout this ordeal, what has been most disappointing is the lack of communication from anyone at Microsoft or the Windows Phone team. There has been no show of support or encouragement, not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement from a real person saying that they received my counter letter or when they would get back to me.
Honestly, it feels like little guys like me mean nothing to Microsoft.
It seems like all they are after is numbers in the Store and they don’t care who does what, so long as the app count is rising.
Folks, I’m not arrogant or delusional: Page Manager wasn’t/isn’t the most popular or sought after app by Windows Phone users. It doesn’t have a huge amount of downloads. It’s a simple app that meets the needs of a small group of Windows Phone users: those who manage Facebook Pages for personal or business reasons. For that matter, I humbly confess that I’m just an average developer and that the app is far from perfect or feature complete and it has some nagging bugs as well.
So, please don’t think this post is about a bruised ego or anything of that nature. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I expected Microsoft, the Windows Phone team, to care just a little bit. Why?
Page Manager may be just one app, but it is my app and it did serve a small group of Windows Phone users, the same users that Microsoft was/is constantly wooing.
I was hoping that someone would follow up with me, and encourage me to get my app back in the Store. Why?
I sacrificed a lot of my personal/family time (after working at my full time job all day) and put a lot of energy/effort to create this app (read more). It would’ve been great if Microsoft/the Windows Phone team understood that and value my time as much as I do and would want to see my app back in the Store, so that all what I put into it wouldn’t have been in vain, that I would keep developing for Windows Phone.
I was hoping that someone would acknowledge my letter to them and let me know that it would be addressed, that it hadn’t slipped through the cracks. Why?
At least I would know that something was happening, as opposed to be totally in the dark.
I was hoping that Microsoft/the Windows Phone team would take this opportunity to show me, a lowly Indie developer, that I’m important to them. Why?
I firmly believe that Indie developers can create quality apps for the platform and rather than chasing after the big players, Microsoft should engage with, equip and encourage Indie devs to take ownership of their platforms, Windows Phone included.
I was hoping that Microsoft/the Windows Phone team would recognize my passion, support and commitment to the platform and reward me by simply expressing their appreciation and support.
I always share my enthusiasm and passion for Windows Phone and all things Microsoft, both as a consumer as well as a developer and constantly encourage others to get on board and give Microsoft a chance.
I feel let down.
Perhaps I am speaking from emotion, but it’s painfully obvious to me that an Indie like me is not even a blip on their radar.
That I would choose to spend a lot of my own time, energy and efforts to create an app that would meet the needs of a small set of Windows Phone users, knowing full well I wouldn’t make money out of it, doesn’t mean a whole lot to Microsoft.
Perhaps, I am foolish to think that they would genuinely appreciate the little guys like me, who’re not creating the popular apps, but plugging holes in the Windows Phone platform.
Perhaps, I am mistaken.
Some of you may think/say I’m overreacting, while others may agree with me and still others may be indifferent to what I have shared.
To me, it is what it is and I am just being honest.
I don’t know if anyone from Microsoft/the Windows Phone team will come across this post, let alone read it. I leave that up to them.
Thanks for reading.Thank Sri 🙂