Microsoft Pilot Program Allows Developers to Respond to App Reviews

| Product News

Finally there is an option for developers to respond to those crazy/support/inaccurate reviews, it just happens to be part of a pilot program Microsoft announced for the Windows Phone Store. Right now only reviews posted from a Windows Phone 8.1 device in the US are eligible for this program, and even still there are only a few developers able to participate, with a larger rollout coming in May.

Here’s how it works: Someone posts a review, and says “It’s great but it has this bug.” So the developer fixes the bug and releases an update. Now she can reply to that review, “I’ve released an update which fixes that issue, hopefully you don’t run into it anymore!” When the response is posted, the original reviewer gets an email. They can ignore it, respond to to the developer, update their review, or opt out of all further app review.

Microsoft Developer Connect, image from the Microsoft Blog.

Of course if this is something that gets abused by developers (push notifications, anyone?) there’s an option for users to “Report concern to Microsoft,” and Microsoft says they’ll revoke developer access if this happens.

Google Play implemented a “one public developer comment per review” last year, where the review and the comment can both be updated repeatedly. Apple, on the other hand doesn't even offer that.

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Awesome! I’m so glad Apple finally figured out developers need…wait, what? Of all the things I considered Microsoft beating Apple to implement, it never EVER occurred to me that review responses would be on that list. I am curious how it will turn out, and I hope it goes well enough that it catches on with Apple. So far the sky hasn’t fallen since Google Play started this a year ago, and I presume the same lack of tragedy will follow Microsoft’s update as well. What gives, Apple?

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Comments

John Dingler, artist

Speaking as a non-developer, while I think that transparency is good in a democracy, Apple is not a democracy in the way it projects its objects to the public, you know, with a mixture of awe and mysticism.

Should transparency produced by that feedback decrease awe and mystery, the Apple mystique is likely to decrease causing investors and buyers to consider it to be an ordinary company producing ordinary products with a few enhancements here and there leading to a loss of some power to attract.

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