Facebook has asked Microsoft to remove 41 unofficial and clone 'Facebook' apps from the Windows Phone store as the social network prepares to introduce its official app for the platform.
Windows Phone 7 and 8 launched without a fully featured official Facebook app, but the OS has tight integration with Facebook as contacts and messages are baked in.
Yet with the growth of the Windows Phone platform, the lack of an official Facebook app became evident, and developers tried to plug the gap with their attempts at a Windows Phone Facebook client, some with better results than others.
Now there are more than 40 such unofficial apps in the Windows Phone app store and Facebook wants all of them removed. Why? Well, the social network launched a beta Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 last month, with a version for 7.X in the pipeline, which could mean that a final public version should be ready soon.
Facebook sent a letter to Microsoft this week, Windows Phone Central reports, that claims infringement of its trademark in 41 third-party Facebook apps in the Windows Phone store.
The apps there carry names like Facebook, Facebook* and Facebook++, which can easily confuse users, and one of them is even called Facebook WP8 beta, clearly vying for novice users searching for the official app.
Microsoft has an online systemfor companies to report trademark and copyright infringement in the Windows Phone app store.
The developers targeted by the Facebook letter have been given one business day to remove their app from the store, according to reports.
Presumably if they do not comply, Microsoft will take the apps down.
Windows 8 apps next?
Next on Facebook's hit list could be Windows 8, which also lacks an official Facebook app. Windows 8 has been installed on more than 100 million computers Microsoft said, so there is a demand for a Facebook app for the new interface. This has resulted in numerous third-party apps with names like Facebook Touch, Facebook Now, Facebook Friends, and so on.
Just as with the Windows Phone 8 unofficial apps, these are less-than-stellar efforts, receiving generally adequate ratings by users.
It wouldn't surprise us if the social networking giant also took offense at those apps when it is ready to launch an official Win 8 Facebook app.