Update according to windows phone store problems and a „solution“ from MS

Some users are still reporting me that they cannot install an update of my app Week View. As written in some blog postings below, this is a problem of the windows phone store, which is confirmed by Microsoft. The simplest solution for it is to contact MS support, tell them to remove the concerned apps from your „purchase history“, buy the apps again and get a refund from MS.

I have been writing many emails with Mary from MS support, which can be found on my blog. Today I got another e-mail from her with a suggested solution from MS.


Important note:  Mary writes …as this is not a developer issue.
This is very important for me, so users of my apps clearly understand that this is a problem of the windows phone store and has nothing to do with apps.

Of course there are many other apps that are concerned by this problem too (Week View is only one of them) which does not make it any better. 🙁
Details about this problem can be read on my blog below.

Here is the reply,I sent to Mary from MS support:

Hi Mary,

Thank you for your email!

I know you are only an MS employee that is doing her work and of course you are not responsible for this problem in any way, so nothing I am saying is meant personal. Of course you are also not responsible for this „solution“, from which we both know that it does not work.

Why? Because users only see an update notification on the marketplace tile, when there is a new update available. If this update does not install the users do not know how to solve this issue. (Which occurs for users that installed my app „Week View“ 2 years ago (!) when it was part of a promotion and also for many other apps)

Some users give bad ratings for my app (or other apps that are concerned by this problem), some users send angry emails (yes, I am getting some of them), others uninstall the app, are angry at the developer (me) since they think it’s my fault…and are not able to re-install the app and most likely will not try to do it.

There is now way, to inform users about your suggested “solution”, besides writing it on my blog, which of course only a few users of my apps read.

Now, after 3 months (!) of investigation, the largest software company in the world (Microsoft) came up with this „solution“: Users should factory-reset their phones and maybe lose some data?!

As said:

1. Users do not know this „solution“ since there is no way to tell them about it. All they see is an update notification on the marketplace tile.

2. Most users (from the small amount that may read this) will NOT do a hard reset of their phone to simply get an app update.

So there is a more likely assumption: Since this problem occurs „only for a few thousand users“, MS simply does not care about it. Why spend time and money for a problem that will „go away“ by itself after some time, when users uninstall concerned apps…and think it’s the developers fault and so don’t blame MS.

As always I will still post this „solution“ on my blog.

I have been a supporter for the windows phone platform since its start and created my first app on a WP 7.0 prototype and also tried to convince people to try out windows phones.

Next time I suggest a windows phone, maybe I should add: …yes, you can get many apps for windows phone too…but maybe they will no longer update and if that occurs, you have to factory-reset you phone, maybe loose some data but don’t be afraid: MS support will help you while doing so….should be no problem since I guess 90% of „non-technical“ users have never heard about a „factory-reset“ and so they don’t know that this is time-consuming, complicated (for a non-technical user) and something they usually want to avoid doing…

I will do it this way:

Tell users of my apps that are concerned by this issue to contact MS support and ask them to remove the app from their purchase history. Then they can re-purchase the app and ask MS for a refund since they had to pay twice.

I got reports from users that were doing it exactly this way and it worked.

Of course this is much more complicated than it should be too, requires users to contact support, re-install apps and ask for a refund…but a least they do not need to factory-reset their phone.

Best regards,

4 Gedanken über “Update according to windows phone store problems and a „solution“ from MS

  1. Sascha

    Hello Hannes,

    Thank you for the blog post. I’d like to re-iterate that the proposed solution of buying the app once again and getting a refund (the „getting the refund“ part being the issue here) is not a recommended solution. Using this procedure I had to get a refund every time I wanted to reinstall the app as the refund would also remove week view from my purchased apps.

    As a result, I am personally postponing getting a new smartphone as long as possible to see if MS is actually putting in some effort to fix this. I am appalled to see that they don’t, apparently, which means (and I realize that your blog is actually not a place to vent this concern) that I will most likely jump ship to android within the next few months.

    I still would like to thank you for putting in effort on trying to bring quality apps onto windows phone. Week View was, as close as it can be, perfect but apparently MS is fighting hard to make the windows marketplace a nightmare for both users and developers alike. But after four years of convincing myself „it’ll get better“ I just can’t take it anymore. Maybe I will be able to enjoy your apps in the future, whatever platform it will be.

  2. Frank

    Hi Hannes,

    Your offered solution worked well. I contacted the support (http://www.windowsphone.com/de-de/how-to/wp-support or equivalent for your language requirement) and explained the issue with the error code provided in the store. He took a bit to be able to recognize the issue but then he added 1.99 € to my account and asked me to buy the app again on my computer (https://www.windowsphone.com/de-de/store/app/week-view/75848ed6-d550-4090-8e9b-50637f55faaf), using the amount he just put in my account.

    That worked well and my phone immediately started the download process and the app is working once more.

    Thanks a lot.

  3. TiTi

    Hi Hannes,
    on my side the factory reset version didn´t work. (Nokia Lumia 930)
    So now I´m in contact with micosoft to do the special solution.