Windows Marketplace for Mobile is due to launch in a few weeks and there has been some speculation as to whether Microsoft would have the ability to remotely delete apps from handsets. These rumors were put to rest during Microsoft's presentation at the Tech-Ed New Zealand conference.
In the event an application is approved but later pulled, Microsoft can automatically wipe the app from any phone that downloaded the app. At this time, it is not clear if refunds for paid apps will be automatic.
While this may seem heavy handed, other app stores have similar policies concerning downloadable content and the ability to remotely delete apps. Amazon has remotely deleted books from their Kindle readers (Orwell's 1984, of course). Apple has chosen to pull unapproved apps from the store while leaving users' devices alone.
In the presentation, Microsoft also reaffirmed it's ban against certain apps including those that replace "core functionality" as well as rejecting mapping and navigational software from its store. Microsoft did note that they will continue to let users download and install Windows Mobile apps from outside the Marketplace.
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mighty nice of them!
As long as they don't touch applications outside the Marketplace I'm perfectly fine with this. The customer base for the Marketplace isn't typically the typical wmexperts.com reader -- I'd bet 98% of us here know exactly how to get software on our phones from other sources, be that Handango, XDA or Bittorrent. The Marketplace is aimed at that customer base that wants things to 'just work', like it does on iPhone or Blackberry. If an app could threaten system stability, and MS wants to present a 'stable ecosystem' for WM, then they need the ability to nuke a potentially bad thing. Now, of course, the question is ... how long before the carriers convince MS to use remote kill for other things ... hopefully never.
But then why would I want to use Marketplace? I doubt it will be cheaper yet it will come with risk. Where's the carrot here?
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