Microsoft foils Google's bid to smuggle Chrome onto Windows Store

Google has tried something of a cheeky ‘workaround’, if you like, for getting its Chrome browser onto the Windows Store – it put an installer for the app on the store, rather than the app itself, although Microsoft has now removed it.

If you’ve not been following the saga of Chrome and the Windows Store, this needs a bit of explanation. Essentially, Microsoft has prevented Google from offering its browser on the store for a number of reasons, most of which revolve around security.

Windows Store policies insist apps shouldn’t jeopardize the user’s security, and tied in with that is the specification that any browsers must use “the appropriate HTML and JavaScript engines provided by the Windows Platform”.

Chrome falls foul of this, with Microsoft basically insisting that the browser must not use its own engines to get on the store – so really, it wouldn’t be Chrome any more.

So Google’s bright idea was to publish a simple installer for Chrome on the store, which allowed for the download and installation of the browser.

This made it past Microsoft’s security sniffer dogs – at least for a short while, until the software giant realized what Google had done. Whereupon, as The Verge reports, the app was yanked down and a Microsoft spokesperson commented: “We have removed the Google Chrome Installer App from Microsoft Store, as it violates our Microsoft Store policies.”

Fighting the fakes

Why does Google care that much about getting an app on the Windows Store anyway? Apparently, part of the reason is combating the raft of fake Chrome lookalike apps trying to take advantage of folks who are looking to install the browser from the store, as obviously these are potentially muddying Google’s reputation – and they’re arguably a security risk in themselves.

Also, Microsoft’s new spin on its desktop operating system, Windows 10 S, only allows apps to be installed from the Windows Store, to keep a tighter rein on software security. So the Store is the only way to reach users on that particular OS.

For now, then, the Chrome controversy rumbles on, and it seems unlikely that Google’s browser will ever make the cut for the store. Microsoft seemingly won’t budge an inch on store policy, and Google isn’t going to gut the browser completely in order to get in, because what it would end up with wouldn’t really be Chrome anyway.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).