If you tried to download or update an application from the Windows Phone Marketplace this week, there is a good chance that you received an error message. This can be very frustrating, especially if you are looking to get something specific done and do not know what the problem is. An issue in the Windows Phone Martketpace has forced Microsoft to stop publishing apps to store while it is resolved.
The issue that has caused error messages when downloading or updating an app has to do with digital certificates used by developers to sign apps. Developers sign apps so that app stores and users can verify that the app is coming from the publisher that it says it is coming from. For instance, if you download an app that says it is coming from the New York Times, you trust that it is actually coming from the newspaper and not a copycat.
The issue is affecting a small percentage of the near 100,000 applications in the Marketplace. Popular apps such as WhatsApp, Translator from Bing and the New York Times have been affected. All of the apps have issued updates to Marketplace recently.
Writing in the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft group program manager for Marketplace Mazhar Mohammed said the bug is affecting Windows Phones that upgrade the operating system from Windows Phone 7 to 7.5 Mango. The bug only affects updated devices, not those that have 7.5 Mango pre-installed. Nokia Lumia 900 owners, for instance, have not likely experienced error messages in Marketplace.
Microsoft has isolated the problem and plans to roll out a fix. While the fix is in process, the company has stopped publishing new apps to Marketplace. Developers having issues with Windows Phone Marketplace are asked to see this forum thread.
Microsoft took a respectable route by being up front about what has happened as opposed to hiding the bug and attempting a quick patch before anybody noticed. The Windows Phone team at Microsoft has been updating its developer center since August 3 and said that some problems could arise along the way. The problem was serious enough to temporarily halt the publication of all apps, so this was not an issue that could be hidden easily.