Microsoft Can Remotely Kill Purchased Apps

Microsoft Can Remotely Kill Purchased Apps (PCMag, Dec. 8, 2011):

Microsoft’s terms of service for its Windows Store allows the company to remotely “kill” or remove access to a user’s apps for security or legal reasons, it said.

As noted by Computerworld, Microsoft’s terms of service for the Windows store will technically allow the company to cut off access to apps, even if the user purchased them.

Microsoft unveiled an app store for Windows 8 apps, on Tuesday. The key ingredients of the Windows Store are easy app discovery from within and without the online marketplace, built-in app trials with quick upgrade paths, support for both x86 and ARM-based hardware, and a flexible business model, Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond said then.

Microsoft addresses the possibility that it might remove apps under the heading, “Can Microsoft remove apps or data from my device?”

“We may change or discontinue certain apps or content offered in the Windows Store at any time, for any reason,” the company says. “Sometimes, we do so to respond to legal or contractual requirements. In cases where your security is at risk, or where we’re required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for.

“In cases where we remove a paid app from your Windows 8 Beta device not at your direction, we may refund to you the amount you paid for the license,” Microsoft added. “Some apps may also stop working if you update or change your Windows 8 Beta device, or if you attempt to use those apps on a Windows 8 Beta device with different features or processor type. You are responsible for backing up the data that you store in apps that you acquire via the Windows Store, including content you upload using those apps. If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored. We have no obligation to return data to you. If sign in information or other data is stored with an expiration date, we may also delete the data as of that date.”

Microsoft also noted that there is no “cooling off” period where users have the right to “return” a paid-for app and receive a refund, unless permitted by state law. Google’s Android Market has a cooling-off period of just 15 minutes. Amazon’s own Android app store has no such cooling-off period, but it also has a test-drive feature that allows users to try out a paid Android app on a PC, for free, via a version of it running in the cloud. Apple does not offer any cooling-off period for paid iOS apps.

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