How Windows 10 Defender is hurting small developers with unwanted restrictions

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Windows 10 Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is hurting small and independent developers by putting unwanted obstacles during downloads

It is well known that Microsoft only loves developers who pay them. But it is not known to many Windows 7/8.1 and Windows 10 users that Microsoft is actually killing small App developers by hiding such downloads behind too many obstacles leaving the Windows users no option but to drop the idea of downloading such App.

A small and independent developer, Tony Pottier had detailed how Windows Defender stops and hurts small and independent App developers by putting too many obstacles between the app and them.

Tony is the developer of ImageView, an alternative to the Windows 10 Photos app for viewing images in a folder. Tony’s App is free and open source but still, it has no takers because it doesn’t have a Microsoft signed certificate. Tony says the Microsoft code-signing certificate to costly for him. Without the Microsoft signed certificate, the Windows 10 users are unable to download the App because Windows puts to many warnings during the download.

The Register’s decided to put to test what Tony says about Windows 10 Defender obstacles. He chose to download and install open-source audio package Ardour 6, which is both unsigned and newly released. Tim tried to download Ardour 6 using the latest Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 laptop.

Tim was surprised to see that the Windows 10 presented him with as many as 7 screens warning him not to install the App.

The warnings start with the download itself. A message appears at the foot of the browser saying that the installer “was blocked because it could harm your device.” A button to the right says “Delete”. In order to download, a determined user has to go to the full download manager (if they can find it) where there is an option to “Keep”.

Tim Anderson

After the initial warning, Tim was presented with six more warning screens discouraging him from downloading and installing the App on his Windows 10 laptop. The warnings start with “This app might harm your device” and “Running this app might put your PC at risk.”

Even choosing “Run anyway” doesn’t let Windows 10 users download the App. Finally, you get “Do you want to allow this app from an unknown publisher to make changes to your device?” Once you say Yes to this seventh warning from Windows 10, you can download the App.

It is nice to know that Microsoft is working hard to protect Windows 10 laptops and PCs from malware but seven times is just too many. A normal Windows 10 user would put off the download of a good App after the second warning leave alone waiting for seven warnings.

But what can small and independent App developers do? This seems to a case where a big company like Microsoft is paying legalese with small developers with only one intention. Promote its own apps or apps that are signed using costly EVs. Remember, EVs are costly at around $100 upwards and in no way can small and independent developers afford them. Microsoft is not only one which presents unwanted obstacles to users while downloading. Google Safe Browsing, Android smartphones, Apple iOS, and other players will automatically block you in a similar fashion to Microsoft.

What’s your opinion about Microsoft knowingly trying to block small Apps? Write your comments in the comments section below or post your opinion on Facebook.

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Hacker, coder, Jouno by night When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him

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