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Microsoft confirms Marketplace 'kill-switch'

Microsoft confirms Marketplace 'kill-switch'

The Windows Marketplace for Mobile might allow installation on a generous five devices, but it can take your software away in an instant.

Microsoft has confirmed that its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store will include functionality to disable and delete applications from users' handsets remotely.

According to GeekZone - via jkOnTheRun - the company has admitted that any application which is downloaded via the Apple App Store-inspired Marketplace can be removed from customers' devices automatically should the package be removed from sale - for example, for a terms-of-service violation or copyright issue.

The clause appears to indicate that "if an application is approved but later removed from the marketplace it will then be automatically removed from all mobile devices."

The move to a central repudiation system for applications isn't new for the mobile application marketplace - with Apple landing itself in hot water over a hidden blacklist feature in its iPhone device, and even 'do-no-evil' Google getting in on the act with its Android Marketplace - but marks a departure for Microsoft, which has previously had no such ability in the Windows Mobile software.

Developers and end-users are concerned that the clause doesn't appear to indicate who holds responsibility for the deletion of a previously paid-for application: presuming that the end-user gets a refund - and if they don't, it's not likely to be a popular function of the Marketplace - is it Microsoft or the developer who ultimately ends up out of pocket?

Do you think that application marketplaces need a 'kill-switch' function, or does the idea of a company reaching out and remotely deleting an application you've paid forconcern you? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

7 Comments

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mclean007 18th September 2009, 15:33 Quote
Good. As long as they're upfront about it, this is a very sensible feature. If an app gets approved, but later the approval is revoked because the app (say) contains hidden malware, it is a smart precaution to remove all existing installs. That way, users don't need to manually remove it to protect their device.

In an ideal world, of course, this wouldn't be an issue, because all apps would be properly screened before going live, but we all know there is no such thing as a perfect filter, and things will get through that will be later revoked.

One point though, if a paid-for app is revoked retroactively, presumably the user gets a refund and MS has to try to recover any royalties paid to the developer?
l3v1ck 18th September 2009, 15:37 Quote
I fail to see what right they have to go on your phone and remove stuff. If they no longer think an app is safe, they should transmit a warning to you so you can delete it yourself.
chrisb2e9 18th September 2009, 17:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I fail to see what right they have to go on your phone and remove stuff. If they no longer think an app is safe, they should transmit a warning to you so you can delete it yourself.

I agree with this, or maybe take it a step farther. Have the option to turn it on or off. Leave it on by default for the majority of users who wouldn't understand what something like malware is anyway.
wuyanxu 18th September 2009, 17:31 Quote
at least Apple lets you keep your apps......
Jozo 18th September 2009, 17:39 Quote
For preventing malware? OK, but it seems it won't be used only for that. I hope you'll be able to disable the option in registry.
xprodancer 19th September 2009, 01:26 Quote
on this subject, if they can delete apps from your fone what else can they do without you knowing????? if an app was removed from the marketplace you would not realy know it had been removed! they should realy think about this one and maybe send a sms to everyone that has that app and ask if they want it removed due to it not being on the marketplace anymore! not just remove it so when you go to use it its not there no more!! if you payed for it, then why cant you keep it if you wish???
B3CK 19th September 2009, 02:08 Quote
I have never used a windows mobile, but I would say that if I buy an app, it's mine, and legal suits would follow if they deleted or even disabled it. If it is a leased or rented, who knows? And what if you get the same app from another location other than their marketplace, and they delete something they didn't have rights to?
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