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Windows Marketplace For Mobile Kill Switch Details 140

Posted by timothy
from the will-I-get-my-four-years-back? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft recently gave more details on Windows Marketplace for Mobile during the Tech Ed New Zealand 2009 session titled 'Distributing and Monetizing Applications through Windows Marketplace Mobile,' led by Loke Uei Tan, Senior Product Manager on the Windows Mobile Team. Geekzone covered the event in good detail, but one of their points caused a lot of uproar in the blogosphere: 'If an application is approved but later removed from the marketplace it will then be automatically removed from all mobile devices.' That sounded a bit ominous to Ars Technica, so they checked in with Microsoft. 'In the vast majority of instances where an application is removed from Windows Marketplace for Mobile, users of this application will continue to be able to use these applications on their phones,' a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. 'In the rare event an application from Marketplace exhibits harmful behavior or has unforeseen effects, Marketplace has the capability to remotely uninstall these applications. While we hope to avoid this scenario, we will make refunds available in such cases.'"
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Windows Marketplace For Mobile Kill Switch Details

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  • Woah. That was me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kalriath (849904) * on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:50AM (#29481219)

    Woot. I was the one that asked that question too! Well, I clarified the question anyway since the guy didn't get it the first time.

    • by Kalriath (849904) * on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:07AM (#29481293)

      Troll? Nice. If that mod was actually present, they'd actually know that it actually was me. Well, if you knew who I was anyway.

      Still, it seemed the presenter thought that he was asking if the app would be removed from sale, not remote nuked from devices. Anyway, pleased to hear that this isn't necessarily the case- the response seemed to indicate that the nuke would occur for any app Microsoft removed.

      Bear in mind folks, that Apple can do, and have done, the same thing as well.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by beelsebob (529313)

        Bear in mind folks, that Apple can do, and have done, the same thing as well.
        [Citation needed]

        Apple do not have the ability to remove an app from your iPhone, at least not currently (thankfully).

        • by AuMatar (183847) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @04:23AM (#29481717)

          http://consumerist.com/5035528/jobs-confirms-iphone-kill-switch [consumerist.com]

          Jobs himself confirmed the capability is in the iphone. I don't know if they've used it, but they can.

          • Orrrrrr if you pwn your iPhone you can kill the killswitch.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by beelsebob (529313)

            and have done
            Your citation does not say what you said it said. It does say they have the ability to remove them though, you're right. Have you got evidence that apple actually have removed an app, ever?

            • by Kalriath (849904) *

              Granted, actually. I'm not even 100% certain that the baby-shaker app was remote-nuked. Regardless, the ability is there.

              • Granted, actually. I'm not even 100% certain that the baby-shaker app was remote-nuked. Regardless, the ability is there.

                In certain cases it could be useful and could protect the customers. On the other hand, using it for the wrong reason or at least one that is questionable would be very dangerous and would likely trigger an outside, government led, investigation into the reasons.

              • by ClaraBow (212734)
                I agree that the ability is there, but they have never done it! Just a piece of anecdotal evidence, my Netshare up which was pulled more than a year ago still works in the latest Iphone. Apple may pull apps, but they certainly haven't removed apps that were sold and later pulled from the app store.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Well, I clarified the question anyway since the guy didn't get it the first time.

      Sometimes you'll submit a story and two days later it's accepted -- by another submitter. It happens, no reason to worry about it.

      • by Kalriath (849904) *

        No, I actually meant I was physically present at TechEd and was the one who asked that question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:51AM (#29481225)

    What if the program encrypted your data and then it was remotley un-installed, what then?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by palegray.net (1195047)
      Sounds like a good reason to back up unencrypted copies of your data. I don't put a lot of faith in software on any platform, which is why backups are important. Then there's the hardware failure side of things, which further bolsters the need for backups; what if you dropped your phone in the toilet?
      • Or back up copies encrypted in another way. Lose one set? No problem, a different key, program, algorithm, or some combination of those unlocks another copy. If it's important enough to encrypt and important enough to backup, it's important enough to backup right.

      • by EdIII (1114411) * on Sunday September 20, 2009 @03:18AM (#29481547)

        I don't put a lot of faith in software on any platform

        I don't put a lot of faith in a platform in which I am not the all seeing, all powerful God of it's digital universe.

        That's the problem. The platform that Microsoft (and others) provide is one in which they don't respect that cold hard fact. They refuse to respect it. In physical terms, it would be like renting a place and the landlord can come in and take out furniture and property at their whim. Sure, Microsoft is offering a refund. I don't care. I still had to come home to find my couches missing.

        The poster you replied to mentioned encryption. That would be like finding the refrigerator missing and all your food on the kitchen floor. Will Microsoft be compensating you for the spoilage? The inconvenience? Most likely not, in fact, I am extremely shocked they even offered a refund.

        This situation played out on the Kindle with 1984 (talk about a cosmic joke).

        To bottom line it, people need to be educated about how all this "stuff" works. When they start to understand that they have zero control and are basically being treated like 4-year olds with their property, I expect change will come then.

        Until that point, I guess we just have to hope these corporations are benevolent with our best interests in mind and would never, ever, compromise their ethics at our expense for a buck.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by palegray.net (1195047)
          You seem to be largely agreeing with me on the major points here and extending their premise, but I'll expand on a couple of points.

          To bottom line it, people need to be educated about how all this "stuff" works. When they start to understand that they have zero control and are basically being treated like 4-year olds with their property, I expect change will come then.

          This depends on people caring to learn about the platforms they use every day. Unfortunately, most folks won't bother, and will complain at every turn when things don't work the way they want on platforms designed to allow them the luxury of "not worrying about managing them."

          Finding some way of making learning about a platform an appealing idea, or at least making it profit

          • by markdavis (642305)

            > I'd love to see an open platform, perhaps built on Linux or BSD and running truly open userland software, that offered the same type of services the major players in the market now seem to have a stranglehold on.

            Well, that is exactly what the Nokia N900 is supposed to be. I don't think anyone knows if it has a remote kill yet. I have a Nokia 770 & 810 and neither does, but they are not phones. Meanwhile...

            1) The iPhone has a remote kill switch.
            2) The Palm WebOS (Pre) is based on Linux. But it h

            • People like us find it deplorable, but the carriers wield a LOT of power

              Carriers only wield as much power as you let them. If you buy phones from the manufacturer, then you are the customer and you get an unlocked phone. If you let the carrier buy your phone and then sell it to you (financed by a personal loan at 20% APR) and lock you into a contract, then they are the customer and the phone will be tailored to their requirements.

              • by markdavis (642305)

                >If you buy phones from the manufacturer, then you are the customer and you get an unlocked phone.

                That might SOUND great, and all, but

                1) Many carriers will not let you use unlocked phones on their network
                2) Many manufacturers will not sell unlocked phones directly to consumers
                3) When purchased unlocked, they usually jack the price up WAY beyond what the networks are paying for them
                4) Even unlocked, you are still trapped with only a few compatible network choices (with most handsets)

                I hate the contract-ba

                • Many carriers will not let you use unlocked phones on their network

                  How do they stop you? Buy phone, insert SIM. Most even offer SIM-only deals.

                  Many manufacturers will not sell unlocked phones directly to consumers

                  Really? Nokia has their own store, Sony sells to customers, so does RIM. The only company I can think of that doesn't is Apple, and that's only in the USA (you can buy an unlocked iPhone in Europe).

                  When purchased unlocked, they usually jack the price up WAY beyond what the networks are paying for them

                  Not when you factor in the fact that the 'subsidy' is really a loan at around 20% APR (sometimes more), and compare the price with a SIM-only contract or pre-pay SIM.

                  Even unlocked, you are still trapped with only a few compatible network choices (with most handsets)

                  This must be a US thing. All of the networks here work with all pho

                  • by socsoc (1116769)
                    Any of the GSM networks in the USA? Nationwide, you only have T-Mobile and AT&T. Huge selection there, the other two national carriers are CDMA... That said, I've always used unlocked GSM phones (bought in Europe) with AT&T until my iPhone, so you're right there. Tmob also doesn't care, it's the CDMA folks who severely restrict the handsets on their networks.
                • by j_sp_r (656354)

                  What kind of backwards country are you in? If I take a pre-paid phone, then it's locked to the network. If I take a subscription, I get the unlocked, unmodified phone in the box and a different box including my SIM card. I think Vodafone might have some branded phones, and most have some menu on their SIM card or something but you can easily get an unlocked phone.

            • 3) Android is based on Linux. But it has a remote kill switch (not sure if it has ever been used).

              Attempts have been made at a TRULY/EXTREMELY open based Linux phone before (OpenMoko sound familiar?) and they have never succeeded.

              Android is pretty open. And there are a number of third-party distros out there (Cyanogenmod and others) than run well on the existing handsets (G1 & G2, etc.) Actually, better in most cases, since it's not hard to improve on the stock firmware. Furthermore, it's not really a "hack" to install an alternate distro on such a device any more than than it's a hack to install Slackware on your PC rather than Ubuntu. It's just another operating system running on a computing platform which happens to fit in yo

        • They refuse to respect it.

          this is perfectly right; There was a perfectly easy and right way to do this. Send a message to the user telling them to delete the application (with a click okay to do so) and then giving a message just before the application started up (with the same).

          The reason that the feature doesn't work like that by default is exactly what you say. This is normal for mobile devices, however. Mostly the operator subsidises the device. Since this means that they are paying, they get to decide and at best they don'

        • by erroneus (253617)

          You broke the spell with "people need to be educated."

          The problem is that people actually work pretty hard to not learn things. Knowledge is seen as a burden and a responsibility and they don't have time for it. And I'm not going to rant about the masses being a bunch of stupid sheep either, because frankly, there are times when I agree with the people on this. While I am perfectly capable of fixing and repairing nearly everything I have ever come in contact with, there are times when it is simply more ap

          • That's the problem with money. Money is the vote you don't get to revoke, ever. It's all well and good to talk about how stupid people don't deserve to keep their vote, but when a few malicious assholes can be elevated on the backs of billions of people who never get to say "oops, we made a mistake", the fact that you voted wisely with your money doesn't change the fact that that malicious asshole is more powerful than you.

            Money gives the intelligent man a choice between being the malicious asshole he kno

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          I've never heard of a landlord who doesn't keep a key to the properties they rent.

          The analogy you wanted was buying a house and having the former owners keep a key just in case they need to get in some day.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anubis350 (772791)
          I'm confused, can you change the analogy to something involving a 4-wheeled motorized device?
          • by jc42 (318812)

            I'm confused, can you change the analogy to something involving a 4-wheeled motorized device?

            Sure. It's sorta like you buy a car, and you don't like the quality of the sound system and/or the GPS gadget that the dealer installed in it, so you replaced them when high-quality equipment that you like better. Maybe you also added a subwoofer. Then one day you take it in for routine maintenance or repair of a minor problem. When you get it back, you find that the gadgets you installed are gone, replaced with

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gcnaddict (841664)
      Microsoft does heavy testing on any app before putting any sort of kill order up, and that applies to code flagged by Microsoft Security Essentials as well as any apps which will eventually find their way onto Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

      Rest assured, this scenario won't happen.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gerzel (240421) *

        What about the scenario where MS doesn't like a product for some reason other than being strictly insecure or malware?

        We've seen Apple use that one quite liberally.

        • Apple have time and again rejected an App before it ever reaches an iPhone, just check out their Developer forum [apple.com] for gripes and confusion. However I don't know of any examples where an App has actually been nuked after acceptance and in fact Jobs' comment [macworld.com] about the hitherto mythical kill switch seems to suggest a policy almost exactly the same as Microsoft, i.e. if an App is accepted that steals user data or can otherwise be considered malware then Apple/Microsoft need a mechanism to disable it.

          I guess this

          • by beuges (613130)

            Apple pulled the Commodore 64 emulator from the app store after it was accepted. To be fair, this was after reports of how to get to a BASIC command prompt surfaced, which is why the app was originally rejected.
            But Apple has removed previously accepted apps from the store. If they had a kill-switch mechanism on the iPhone, they most likely would have remotely remoted the C64 emulator from those phones that had purchased it as well.

            see http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/09/09/08/1714205.shtml [slashdot.org]

            • by Kristoph (242780)

              Yes, Apple removed the applications from the STORE but if you bought the app already it remained on your iPhone.

              Somewhere, eight lucky (and stupid) people have the 'I am Rich' application they bought from the Apple store installed on their iPhone:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Rich [wikipedia.org]

              Even though it's long gone from the Apple store.

              Interestingly, Google is ok with this application staying on their store. What happens when someone buys this application accidentally, thinking it's a finance management or somet

          • by bcmm (768152)
            Few apps have been nuked after acceptance, but for some apps they started rejecting upgrades due to a change in policy, effectively nuking the app when it needs to be updated to work with a new firmware version.
          • by Kalriath (849904) *

            Actually, the gripes and confusion are more prevalent on the actual Developer forum [ps] (free developer login required to view),

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          What about the scenario where MS doesn't like a product for some reason other than being strictly insecure or malware?

          I guess it depends on the actual ToS once it's there. If it specifically says that Microsoft "reserves the right to remove malware", and nothing else, then both application developers and users could sue MS if it ever removes some application, arguing that it's not malware. On the other hand, if it's "it's our service, we do whatever the heck we want, any users have the right to bend over or walk out", that could be just as bad as Apple.

    • That is kind of silly, this kill switch seems to be for malware. So why not instead of encrypting your stuff couldn't it just delete everything? Or do a large variety of other things... What you are basically saying is this:

      Oh no if MS remotely deletes viruses it finds on my computer and the virus first encrypted everything then I could never get it back!

      .... I really doubt that is the issue.
      • this kill switch seems to be malware.

        Fixed that for you.
        It's hard to distinguish between a remote kill switch (which is not controlled by the owner of the device) and various other types of malware.

        • What are you talking about? It's very easy to distinguish between such a remote kill switch and other types of malware, by comparing what the remote kill switch does and what the malware does.

          You could just as easily be arguing that it's difficult to distinguish between a firewall and a denial-of-service attack.

    • by aix tom (902140)

      Well. If the software used a known and documented cipher algorithm just decrypt it with another software that can decode that cipher.

      If you "encrypted" your data with something that used some unknown and/or undocumented algorithm, then the data couldn't have been important anyway.

    • by bcmm (768152)
      That's what will happen to you if you use closed-source software. They can do this already, you know.
  • dumbass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:59AM (#29481257)

    Didn't you learn from the Kindle incident?

    • Re:dumbass (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sonic McTails (700139) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:05AM (#29481289)
      The difference here is that you could sell a program that could cause a phone self-destruct (for instance, damaging the /Windows folder which will cause the phone to fail to boot) and require a manual reflash (which while is not a difficult process, would still probably require most users to bring the phone to a store to do it).

      Since in all cases, Microsoft can only examine binaries, and can't see if such a Trojan horse exists, and even if they could see the source, it is still possible to obscure the behavior. If such a self-destruct feature is found, Microsoft can remotely delete the application, the Android Marketplace has the same sorta kill switch for the same reason.

      If the program is just delisted, Microsoft won't remotely delete it (at least according to their press release). If you believe them is an entirely different problem.
    • Re:dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by StreetStealth (980200) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:12AM (#29481319) Journal

      Well, this is different. Kind of.

      A book, being a non-executable, isn't going to suddenly delete your data or leak personal information to a third party. As long as the kill switch is only used for actually dangerous applications, it should be fine, with one caveat:

      It shouldn't be automatic. The user should be prompted with a severe warning, and then allowed to continue at their peril. Because there are always exceptions.

      Actually, if Amazon had set up their system to do something similar, there wouldn't have been a firestorm. "Warning: The seller of this book has been discovered not to own the distribution rights to it. You may keep this copy, or click here to exchange it for a properly-licensed one." That's all they would have needed to do.

      • by jpmorgan (517966)
        Given that the most predominant attack vector is users ignorance and stupidity.... no, it really should be automatic. At the very least, a prompt should only be enabled by a very obscure setting somewhere.
  • Not a horrible idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If an application is doing some harmful (virus, worm, whatever) it should be removed. A mobile OS isnt like Windows where you have or should have an anti virus running.

    Not saying Microsoft would be honest with that kind of power, I doubt it. Good idea though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rdnetto (955205)

      A mobile OS isnt like Windows where you have or should have an anti virus running.

      Are you so sure about that? As phones, etc. get more powerful, we're going to be able to do a lot more with them, and more viruses are going to turn up. It may be just as necessary in the future to run AV on your phone as on your desktop.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        AV shouldn't be nessecary and in nearly all cases the AV software doens't work when confronted with something new, only old. If old bugs are patched properly then AV software is even less effective.

        That is the difference between Apple/Linux and Windows. old bugs get patched properly. MSFT just works around them. While quick patches come out for apple linux to deal with the short term problem, the long term holes are properly filled in and smoothed over later.

        That is why a patched XP bug made it's way in

        • by rdnetto (955205)

          AV shouldn't be nessecary ... If old bugs are patched properly

          AV shouldn't be necessary, but then malware shouldn't exist. Similarly, most users don't bother to install the latest updates. We have to work with what we have, not with some hypothetical world where these problems don't exist.
          While I agree that MS has a bad history, that doesn't solve the problem at hand. Bugs will appear in any OS, and while there will be fewer in some than in others, any OS that gains sufficient popularity will be targeted. (e.g. [mashable.com])

          in nearly all cases the AV software doens't work when confronted with something new, only old.

          Heuristics [wikipedia.org] are getting more effective. And most people a

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Your phone is already more powerful than a 1972 Cray, the most powerful computer there was at the time. I'm surprised we haven't already seen viruses on them.

        Not to insult Microsoft, but they have a track record here. I'd not buy a phone with an MS OS, especially if it was manufactured by Sony, who also have their own bad track record. [wikipedia.org]

        • by rdnetto (955205)

          There are already some viruses, but only a handful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virus [wikipedia.org]
          It seems that the only thing keeping them down is the lack of a standardized phone OS. I guess WinCE isn't popular enough to be targeted yet, and the iPhone is so locked down even the users can't install their own programs without jailbreaking.
          I think viruses designed specifically for netbooks are more likely to catch on, since they have similar wireless connectivity to mobiles but the majority of them currently run

    • My current phone is a generation or two old now, and has more RAM and processing power than the workstation I ran NT 4 on. Why should it be different just because it's a more convenient form factor?
  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by imemyself (757318)
    This is not that big of a deal. I don't like someone else having control over my hardware, but unlike with Apple's phones, nobody is requiring you to get Windows Mobile apps from the Microsoft "marketplace". If you're worried about something like this, then just skip the app store and get the .cab installation file straight from whoever made the software. The great thing about Windows Mobile is that its not locked down like other mobile OS's. You don't have to jailbreak your own hardware just to use it.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sonic McTails (700139) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:09AM (#29481303)
      Windows Mobile phones CAN be locked down to that extent and be setup to required signed cabs and reject unapproved applications (including those exe's that haven't been digitally signed. Most carriers do not enforce this, although the Motorola i930 for Nextel is a notable exception.
      • by imemyself (757318)
        Yeah, I guess that's true, but in that case it's not really MS being dicks, it's the carrier. That interesting about that Nextel phone, my Sprint Treo was not locked down (even before I upgraded to an unofficial WinMob 6 firmware), I wonder why Sprint/Nextel would choose to lock down some of their phones but not others. I have to say, I would have some very unpleasant words for a person who sold me a phone that does not allow me to install applications (of my choosing) on it.
      • by Kalriath (849904) *

        Yes, but there are easy to follow instructions to undo the "signed apps only" restriction, since Microsoft doesn't want to stand in the way of "developers developers developers". Try THAT on Mac OS X Mobile (or even Symbian if locked down in such a manner).

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          There are easy to follow instructions to jailbreak an iPhone. At one point it required visiting a web site. Now you have to run a program on your computer.

  • First Task (Score:5, Funny)

    by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:04AM (#29481287) Homepage

    exhibits harmful behavior or has unforeseen effects

    Doesn't sound like Windows Mobile and the Marketplace App are going to be with us for long.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Apple can and will do the same thing. The difference is that Microsoft won't be canning software simply because it duplicates built-in functionality. They'd love you to make it better than it is. But, apple hates competition. They're afraid that someone will demonstrate that it is possible to do it much better without them. The only thing keeping Apple going at this point is Microsoft's general incompetence - WinCE still blows and Microsoft is in the dictionary as the antonym of Agile (and I don't mean "...

  • The only useful (and thus, profitable) app will be the one that embeds a Bluetooth device unto our brains, allowing us to communicate through sheer willpower.
    • > ...allowing us to communicate through sheer willpower.

      Until the vendor catches you thinking wrong thoughts and shuts down your mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:20AM (#29481351)

    I see the reasons for doing this, but I'm not sure I agree with the implementation. To me, a better way to handle this would be to not remove the application but to disable it instead and the next time the user tries to start it, give a short explanation on why it was disabled and maybe a link for more technical details with an option to enable/delete/stop. Sure, most users would probably immediately delete it, but it would be the users CHOICE too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by broken_chaos (1188549)

      Sure, most users would probably immediately delete it, but it would be the users CHOICE too.

      You haven't really worked with many users, have you? Their program stops working and gives them an option to make it work again, do you really think they'll read/follow why they shouldn't make it work?

      • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:37AM (#29481417) Homepage
        Yes and yes. Why is it so hard to start with respect for the user and work from there?
        • by Shikaku (1129753)

          Yes, the user is wary of everything that is going on when they install something and browse the web. This is why antivirus software profits are dying, because the user wised up for once.

        • by Arainach (906420) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @05:03AM (#29481801)
          Because it was tried. And it was discovered that users don't read [msdn.com].
          • by bit01 (644603)

            Because it was tried. And it was discovered that users don't read.

            No. It was discovered that badly written dialogs using jargon and concepts that the average computer user has no hope of understanding were being ignored.

            Software is soft, it can be anything we want it to be but many poor programmers (not to mention certain astroturfers) prefer to point the finger at users instead. Most of the time it's incompetent programmers guiding the user into making bad choices, not the user's fault at all. I've lost

            • What about something like: " is bad. [Remove it!] [Do Nothing]" with a big frown image on "Do Nothing", and a big smile image on "Remove it!"?

              I think you'd find that users would *still* randomly click. At best it might alter the distribution of random clicks slightly. Of course, ProgramName will turn out to be "Indiciso679transit.yonkeys--é" and ruin the friendliness.

              • by bit01 (644603)

                What about something like: " is bad. [Remove it!] [Do Nothing]" with a big frown image on "Do Nothing", and a big smile image on "Remove it!"?

                That's been designed for young child, not a typical computer user. It is asking the user to make a decision but provides no useful information to base that decision on. " is bad" is useless, the user is smart enough to know that question would not have been asked unless there was a possibility that it was not bad.

                I think you'd find that users would *still* randomly

        • by cbhacking (979169)

          Two reasons. First, the vast majority of users don't *want* to deal with this - they just want their (computer|phone|car|whatever) to work. In this case, respecting their wishes involves making it so they don't have to see this. Second, computer users (and smartphones are computers, just small ones that happen to use ARM chips) are, by and large, idiots when it comes to computers. They're ignorant, but they don't even WANT to learn. Leaving something with the capability to spread malware or launch a DoS att

    • It comes down to what sort of flaw there is in the software. If it's something like a network-raping app that displays bouncing tits every time the phone recieves a message, just offering the users a choice would be incredibly irresponsible.

      It's the old "should I have the right to participate in a botnet?" question. Malware can and will affect more than just one person.
  • If I want an app through http://maemo.org/ [maemo.org] for my soon to be N900 and some one doesn't like it, what then? See OSS and Linux doesn't have this protection that Microsoft and Apple offer.

    • That n900 looks like it's about to replace laptops and desktops. Are there any plans to allow it to be docked to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor?
      • by miknix (1047580)

        That n900 looks like it's about to replace laptops and desktops. Are there any plans to allow it to be docked to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor?

        From what I can tell, the n900 is powered by a OMAP 3430 and this SoC is capable of USB2.0 OTG.
        The omap Linux USB stack can work in usb host (OHCI) mode and OTG client (UDC) mode.

        Given all above, I can tell either Host or OTG modes would support USB mouse or keyboard. There is a catch though, it also depends on the USB transceiver chip the n900 uses. The chip must be capable of delivering USB power when requested, otherwise you will need a USB HUB.

        For example, my HTC Wizard (omap850) works in host and OTG m

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Maemo uses a fairly standard apt-based package management system. I'm pretty sure that if a package from one of the repositories had a serious problem, the repo maintainer could push a "critical update" that disabled a misbehaving program. Of course, if the user wasn't updating (I forget if it updates by default or not) then nothing would happen.

      • by kurt555gs (309278)

        Actually I was practicing sarcasm. I know it is rare, but I like the idea of being able to see how programs work, and have control over something I have bought. I know, it isn't the way most big companies like it, but hey I'm old.

        I already have an N770, N800, and an N810 so i'm both hyped and familiar with the platform. I also have an N95 8GB (great) and an N97 (steaming pile of shit).

        Well, my life is just on hold waiting for the N97. My only big decision is weather to stay with the evil AT&T, or switch

        • by kurt555gs (309278)

          The statement "Well, my life is just on hold waiting for the N97." was meant to say N900. The N97 is/was the worst phone I have ever had.

    • If I want an app through http://maemo.org/ [maemo.org] for my soon to be N900 and some one doesn't like it, what then? See OSS and Linux doesn't have this protection that Microsoft and Apple offer.

      Funny guy. I guess I'll be stuck with this "problem", too, since I plan to get a N900 this year (hope there's no delay in it coming out or I won't be able to charge it to corporate in time for their mid-November deadline).

      I was wondering, though: are there enough 3rd party apps for the N900? (After all, there'd be no need f

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @06:26AM (#29482015) Homepage

    If any other company said "we are doing it this way because it's for the best... trust us" we might still have the same reaction to it. We see it everywhere we go. Amazon did it with their removal of eBooks. And in every case of internet censorship I have ever heard of, it went well beyond its stated purpose of "guarding against child porn."

    It's bad enough that "we don't trust." It is worse when a company believes it can "impose a trust relationship... or else."

  • It's so simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spacefight (577141) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @06:33AM (#29482041)
    Don't buy this shit.
  • by cheros (223479) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @08:18AM (#29482309)

    I can't believe they are actually serious about this. Let's do the car analogy. I sell you a car, and find out later that a lot of those cars have been used as getaway cars in robberies etc. The police would like me to withdraw this car from the market.

    So, doorbell rings on Sunday afternoon and a guy stands there with a box with has everything you left in the car, an envelope with the payments you have already made and a confirmation that the rest of your loan is cancelled, and he wants your remaining keys (because they kept a set when they sold you that car - think about that one for a moment). And he shows you the clause in your agreement in 6 point font in light grey on white where they make this legal. The car is about to be towed - they opened your garage already because they somehow gained access.

    You need "car functionality": You have to bring the kids to school on Monday, you have a work appointment straight after, and you have to do some shopping because it got late on Saturday.

    Would you:

    (a) thank the guy, accept the box and figure out WTF to do next
    (b) tell the guy to drop the box, hand over his copy of your car keys and tell him to be off your drive -minus your car- before you come back to the door with an appliance to assist in his removal which may or may not consider his health in the process.

    Bonus question:
    Would you EVER consider buying a car from that company again, even if it somehow got sorted out?

    This gig has just closed the market for me for phones with an MS OS. I hope Apple doesn't try to pull this one either - they have no removal clause in their T&Cs (which is probably why they are rather retentive in their app checking to start with).

    Where the hell have we got to over the last decade? Since when did it become acceptable for a company to become judge and jury about what you buy? /rant

  • A refund is no good. I don't want Corp/Gov pulling these kinds of strings. That's too much power. It's my computer, my data. They have no right to reach in and mess with it. The Amazon Animal Farm book rescinding fiasco proved how bad an idea this is. They destroyed the class notes people had made while reading the book. That was the user's data. I won't buy any products with remote deactivation. A kill switch is a product killer.
  • 1984 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ozlanthos (1172125)
    I find the lack of outrage over this really surprising. Seems like we are drifting closer and closer to a time when texts found online will be changed globally without anyone knowing the difference. All "bad" news (stories not conforming to the party line) will suddenly disappear. All apps that do things Apple or any other company don't like will just disappear off of your phone (no matter how much you paid for it, or where you bought it from). Now you know why they are trying to kill the written word in al
  • ... about a telephone is that it has to work when you need it to work.

    Your world won't come to end if your Soduku game makes a sudden departure.

    It just might if you can't raise 911.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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