Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

Summary: It might sound both harsh and draconian, but it's a necessary feature of a modern app store.

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Microsoft's Windows Store terms of use for Windows 8 allow the company to remove 'apps or data' from your Windows 8 devices. It might sound both harsh and draconian, but it's a necessary feature of a modern app store.

Note: These terms of use mention Windows 8 Beta. Since there isn't a beta yet we can assume that Microsoft is getting things ready for a beta release.

Removal of apps is covered in two locations within the terms of use document. First, a note two paragraphs down:

Please note that this agreement allows us to remove applications from your Windows 8 Beta enabled device in certain circumstances. See the Can Microsoft remove apps or data from my device? section below for more details.

And then in a section specific to app and data removal:

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. 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. 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.

From a security point of view, this makes sense. Both Apple and Google have 'kill switches' built into their respective app stores (Google has used its kill switch to obliterate malicious apps, while Apple is yet to exercise its app nuking powers).

Note: Apple regularly pulls apps from its App Store, but those who have purchased those apps are free to continue to use them.

The only bit that worries me is the refund policy. I don't understand why Microsoft says that it only 'may' refund the amount paid for the license for any removed product. I'd like to see this refund policy written in much plainer language.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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98 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

    So you are saying, if my apps are missing, Windows 8 it?
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Return_of_the_jedi Nice!
      happyharry_z
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      Being a wannabe geek , I don't understand much of the info on these forums but I read the blog just for comments like yours. That is too funny , Thanks.
      chucknite@...
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Return_of_the_jedi - damnit. You owe me a box of screen wipes. Coffee EVERYWHERE!
      bitcrazed
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Return_of_the_jedi That one's gonna drive teachers/professors up a wall.
      ultimitloozer
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      First, Fast and very, very good.

      Salut!
      CanadianTrooper
  • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

    The fact is that neither Apple nor Microsoft should be removing something without popping up a warning saying "We have found a problem with this, this is the problem, may we uninstall this application?"

    I don't like the iPhone doing that bunk (one reason why I have stayed away from it) and think that should be illegal, except in cases where an application is malicious.
    Lerianis10
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Lerianis10 Then who is going to be the one to deem an app 'malicious'? The same guys who what to remove the app. You could consider a baseball bat malicious depending on how its used.

      No. They shouldn't be allowed to remove anything without your approval.
      Bodazapha
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Bodazapha

        Thankfully, in the world of tech, malicious is malicious, is malicious. There is no in between.

        Don't want to risk having your hard work yanked? Then focus on what your app is supposed to do, and make sure it does that without jeopardizing the user's data set or integrity. No more, no less.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Cylon Centurion
        Your implied position is all fine as long as we're only discussing "malicious software." However, the legal quagmire is a much different story when something is deleted over software patent and/or copyright "claims" -- proven or not. This policy is too vague in too many ways.
        David A. Pimentel
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Cylon The legalese says they can remove apps and data at ANY time, for ANY reason. This is mind-boggling. Microsoft is running around like a chicken with its head cut off right now. Like the Ubuntu and Gnome folks, they see an iPad and suddenly believe they've missed a boat and are going to rework their desktop to become giant smartphones because the "post PC" era is upon us. It's insane.

        What IT department will willingly consent to giving Microsoft permission to remove programs from their systems at any time for any reason? Time to sell MS stocks short... Windows 8, which once looked so promising, continues to snowball towards looking like a marketing disaster to surpass Vista.
        jgm@...
    • I haven't heard or seen Apple

      @Lerianis10... removing apps from people's devices after they have purchased them. I have seen apps no longer existing in the App Store for one reason or another, but I still had the copy I purchased and still functions, although a future iOS update could cause the app to become incompatible making it worthless. But whether the app is no longer available is on a couple of points either the App was removed by Apple for some reason, or as is more common, the dev just stops updating the app.

      Mindjet recently did this with their MindManager app, they redeveloped the app, made it free, and dead ended the old app that I had paid $7 for. The old app was no longer in the App store, still functioned, but I am sure an iOS update will kill it eventually. I moved on to the newer free app which was better than the old one anyway. Irritating that I paid $7 for it and 6 months later it was free.

      Oh well, at the time the trade was win-win, so I guess I can't be all that upset about it and at least the new one was free and I didn't have to buy it over again.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

        Overall I'm still not a big fan of app stores. Physical media was nice because I owned it, I could touch it at anytime and know that if something went sideways i'd always have it at my desk.
        Rob.sharp
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh Also, "It might sound both harsh and draconian, but it???s a necessary feature of a modern app store." Linux invented the "modern app store", and it's not a feature in any distribution I'm aware of to remove programs or software without a user's permission. The capability exists to downgrade or remove programs or libraries, but never without consent.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @jgm@...

        [b]Also, "It might sound both harsh and draconian, but its a necessary feature of a modern app store." Linux invented the "modern app store"[/b]

        Do you have any proof of this? And no I'm not claiming Apple invented it but I've been able to get apps online for my old WM device and my BB device for years prior to Apple's App Store, to Google's purchase of Android, hell even prior to the original announcement of Android which was then going to be a BB clone and alternative OS to many old WM devices.
        athynz
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Pete Athens

        "Do you have any proof of this? And no I'm not claiming Apple invented it but I've been able to get apps online for my old WM device and my BB device for years prior to Apple's App Store..."

        Package management has been the standard way to install/manage both the OS files and programs since very early in Linux's history.


        "In late 1993, Rik Faith, Doug Hoffman, and Kevin Martin began releasing the first public betas of the BOGUS Linux distribution. BOGUS was notable for the package management system (pms) software that was used with it for installation and uninstallation of all software on an application-by-application basis. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1994, the first public betas of Red Hat Commercial Linux were released. Red Hat initially used Red Hat Software Program Packages (RPP) as the basis of its Linux distribution. Like pms, RPP was a system-management tool that allowed for easy installation and uninstallation of applications. In late 1993, Ian Murdock founded the Debian Gnu/Linux distribution. He began seriously developing its dpkg application-management software by the summer of 1994. Like pms and RPP, dpkg made it possible to manage each application on the system. "
        jgm@...
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Pete "athynz" Athens

        Now Pete, there's no call for bringing up facts that are indisputable in this thread, you should know that by now! :)
        PollyProteus
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

        Notice however that they did not FORCE you to move to the new app or delete the old app/automatically install the new one.

        That is the proper behavior: to pop up a warning that the old app is 'depreciated' (proper term for when something is old and not advised to be used) and to switch to the new app if at all possible.
        Lerianis10
    • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

      @Lerianis10

      Oh, you don't like Apple doing that "bunk" and you say that is one reason why you have stayed away from iPhone.

      But in the article it is said that Apple still hasn't done so. At present, only Google is behaving like that. I guess you are an Android user?
      perronne
      • RE: Microsoft can remove apps and data from Windows 8 devices

        @perronne

        Nope, I just use a regular non-"smart" phone currently because I didn't trust that these places were not spying on me.

        Unfortunately, the pickings of those phones are getting more and more slim and amazingly, because of the rebates, are more expensive than a smartphone now.
        Lerianis10