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Microsoft Bans VoIP, Rival Stores At Mobile Market 151

narramissic writes "Microsoft has identified 12 application types that won't be accepted at the MarketPlace for Mobile store. Among them: VoIP apps, programs that are larger than 10MB, and programs that change the default browser on a device. Overly restrictive? Maybe. But perhaps the clear set of rules (PDF) will prevent confusion similar to what's been encountered over Apple's policy for approving or rejecting applications from the App Store."
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Microsoft Bans VoIP, Rival Stores At Mobile Market

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  • Excuse me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sam0vi ( 985269 )

    Excuse me for saying this, but does anybody else think this is MADNESS!!?? They are not going very far with those restricitions. Follow the way of the Zune.

    • Re:Excuse me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:57AM (#27844249)

      I personally don't care, since you are not tied to this store to get applications for Windows Mobile. This is not Apple where you have to jailbreak the device to install software from anywhere.

      • Re:Excuse me (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:04AM (#27844333) Homepage Journal

        The top 2 things in the prohibited list are "Applications that link to, incent users to download, or otherwise promote alternate
        marketplaces" and "Applications that are or distribute alternate marketplaces".

        This doesn't fill me with confidence about the future of alternatives to Microsoft's store, surely they must be envious of Apple's 30% cut of 1 billion app sales.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Why should the supplied market place advertise and enable rival services?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Sloppy ( 14984 )

            Wait a minute. What's a "supplied market place?" Before these goofy phones came along, I never heard of such a thing.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by WNight ( 23683 )

            Wrong question?

            Why would the marketplace accept a crippled device from company A when company B doesn't restrict their app store?

            I mean, who does MS think they are? Apple? Do they think they have any star power?

            Business types, MS's traditional cash cow, switched to Blackberries, and since Vista, people *have* gotten fired for buying Microsoft. They aren't really hip and cool. They don't appeal to kids...

            Don't they realize they're the LG of the market now? They're now the crap you whine about getting at work

        • Re:Excuse me (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:25AM (#27844589) Homepage Journal

          Anyone familiar with the PlaysForSure initiative should be extremely wary of purchasing anything for these devices without a way to guarantee that they'll work after Microsoft moves on to greener pastures.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maxume ( 22995 )

            Anyone with any understanding of DRM at all should be wary of any service that employs DRM that depends on a server (there is some distinction between server based schemes and something like DVD style protection, the latter being someone less likely to explode).

            Of course, whether than means not using it at all or simply factoring it into the purchasing decision is going to be up to the individual. The short term payoff could well be significant enough that the DRM simply isn't relevant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

          Reading this I am starting to wonder how I managed to get software for my windows mobile devices all these years since I got an XDA in 2004.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by noundi ( 1044080 )
          In their defense, this rule makes sense. In no company should one promote the activities of another rival company, this is natural. However it's another thing to Hitler things around, such as prohibiting VoIP. This is such a natural step in communication that it hurts to see that Microsoft kills innovation like this. I really admire the ignorance of those that support this store. This is no longer even about opinions, this is a plain fucking fact, do you want to pay your carrier for a service that you can g
          • Re:Excuse me (Score:4, Insightful)

            by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:34AM (#27844699)

            In their offense, this ruling doesn't make sense.

            Apple apps don't run on Windows phones; hell, most of their own apps barely run on their phones. My Windows 5 Treo 700w is miserable.

            It's true that banning VoIP makes friends with the carriers. A good some place will deliver those apps soon. Then things are out of the carrier's gouging control again, and so much the better.

            Competition is cool. The Amazons of the world can actually make money from rivals, easily and handily.

            Open a store, make it a cool and safe place to go, and clean up. Microsoft keeps hardware vendors in business by getting their OS and apps to run in lots of places on lots of hardware. Their UI, good or bad as it might be, is at least understood. They have a chance to be egalitarian, but instead, copy the mistakes of their rivals, instead of breaking new ground. Oh, wait.... that's what they always do-- or at least that's the perception.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tanktalus ( 794810 )

            It really depends on what they see as their revenue stream.

            One option is to try to lock all your customers in to your vertical stack, such that you spend all your money with them. This is known as the "bundle everything with your OS" tactic. Microsoft has had some success with this.

            Another option is to enable partners to drive sales of your base product. That is, you provide the base product (say OS) and encourage others to provide value to your product by producing add-ons. This could be known as the "

          • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
            No worries, Android opened the Pandora box.

            If something is not allowed by your Mobile provider connect via SSH or VPN to your home server. In case you don't have one, buy the service from TPB or any other trusted company. 5E per month is a cheap solution.

            Only Joe six pack will be affected by those limitation. But once Joe sees what I can do with my Android he will want one too.

            M$ has lost the train for the future a long time ago or they simply don't care any more.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by maxume ( 22995 )

          I'm not real sure that a policy of not promoting other appstores puts them at a competitive disadvantage versus Apple, which simply refuses to support any other appstores.

        • Re:Excuse me (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:40AM (#27844769)

          That 1 billion is a misnomer.

          Every time you download an update to an app, its considered a sale (and you get a $0 receipt for it).

          I'm sure I've racked up hundreds of sales, but I've only bought maybe four programs.

          • Re:Excuse me (Score:4, Informative)

            by chaim79 ( 898507 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:47AM (#27846611) Homepage

            Where are you getting this information? I've never seen a bill for an app update (even a $0 bill) and I've not seen any mention of this anywhere else.

            The only thing I've seen that's remotely close is comparisons of the various developer programs, for a developer on Symbian a new app and an update to an existing app are priced/processed the same. However, that has nothing to do with apps sold.

          • by mgblst ( 80109 )

            Every time someone downloads from me, whether it is new or an update, I get a receipt. It is recorded in my daily/weekly statement.

            But nowhere does it say that apple is using updates to count its 1 billion downloads. You are just making shit up.

            • And I can't remember the source, but IIRC Apple said that updates didn't count toward the "1 billion apps downloaded"
              Though, if you do the math, there have been something like 40 million devices sold running iPhone OS. That'd put the apps downloaded per device somewhere near 25, which sounds a little bit high.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The killer is they won't accept VoIP apps. Any attempt at control creates a pressure for change away from that control. The market will simply move past Microsoft.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Um, the restrictions are basically nothing. The ones Apple use are far more restrictive (e.g. arbitrarily remove an app just because it costs $1000 and does nothing but show a picture of a red ruby).

      I can foresee this list spiralling.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward





    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Only the restriction on replacing the SMS/MMS interface seems braindamaged to me. You can likely already configure a winmo phone to send those messages via TCP. If I had unlimited internet on my cellphone (RAZR V3i) I could do this, and send SMS and MMS for free. (I don't...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tb3 ( 313150 )

      Exactly. I can't see anything in there that would stop porn, or the baby-shaking app, or anything else that could be controversial or offensive. The first time someone tries to submit an app like that, Microsoft is going to have to accept it, and deal with the PR firestorm, or reject it, and deal with the PR firestorm. :-P

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Andy_R ( 114137 )

        This is a list of application types that will be rejected. I think it's safe to assume there will also be a list of application content that will be rejected, which will cover the sort of things you mention.

  • So? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We're up in arms because they don't want you using other companies products on their stuff?

    This seems like a fairly normal corporate model: why give other companies a chance to wow your consumer base?

    Meanwhile, Apple's latest evil is barring Trent Reznor from using his music in an app when they sell the uncensored version of his music on itunes. I think Apple is winning the 'my store is more evil' award for now.

  • !Overly restrictive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shrike82 ( 1471633 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:59AM (#27844287)
    The no VoIP will have been imposed by phone companies who don't want their customers making cheap calls. These restrictions don't seem excessive to me, merely the result of enforcing software standards (from TFA) and the usual price fixing from mobile phone companies.

    Anyway, can't you just install unofficial apps (not from the store) if you want to bypass these restrictions? Any sort of software protection preventing this will likely be broken in short order...
    • These restrictions don't seem excessive to me, merely the [...] usual price fixing

      Price fixing. Not excessive. Right...

      I'm shocked by the mobile telephony prices in the US: $0.25 per text message. What The Fuck??

      I get 50 messages for free every month (and 50 minutes of calls) for a monthly fee of nothing, and $0.032 per text after the first 50.

      That's in the socialist haven that is Denmark, where income is most evenly distributed ( -- UN Gini, second most equal by CIA Gini, more equal than the US by every metr

    • Any sort of software protection preventing this will likely be broken in short order...

      True. My buddy installed a program on his jailbroken iPhone that tells the Skype app that it's connecting via wi-fi when it's actually connecting via 3G. He lowered his monthly plan down to the minimum number of minutes, saving $30, and is now using Skype for all his calls.

    • You most certainly can install whatever you want.

      There already is a "central app store for WM." It's ugly, it ain't perfect, but it's very cheap. []
    • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:35AM (#27845515)

      What do you mean unofficial.. there is no such thing in the WinMo world. Anyone can create and distribute apps for WinMo devices, in any way they please.

      The only thing that the Windows Market place is allowing for is the ability for developers to create applications that can be sold through a 1 stop shopping space directly on the phone.

      there is nothing stopping users from buying apps from developer websites, handango, or whatever other distribution method is out there, and installing via activesync. These are still official applications.

      As for the VOIP thing, well thats to appease the carriers. And no, MS does not have to allow applications that will point to competing market place applications. Thats like Walmart selling you a coupon that points to best buy to buy a piece of software...

      I read the rules a few days ago, I do not see anything wrong with them. As someone else pointed out, if you don't like those rules, go elsewhere, thats the advantage of WinMo, unlike Apple where you have to jailbreak if you want to do anything fun

      disclaimer, I have an iphone.. but I also have half a dozen winmo phones too.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        there is nothing stopping users from buying apps from developer websites, handango, or whatever other distribution method is out there, and installing via activesync. These are still official applications.

        Except, the ability to install applications on Windows Mobile is dependent on the carrier. Most carriers ship the phone "unlocked" (can run unsigned binaries), but there's always the option to "lock" the phone (only allow signed binaries to run, from a specific list of signers)

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      The no VoIP will have been imposed by phone companies who don't want their customers making cheap calls.

      God forbid we should let the market decide! The phone companies have spent a lot of time chaining their customers to the floor, we can't just let them buy hacksaws, now can we?

    • > The no VoIP will have been imposed by phone companies who don't want
      > their customers making cheap calls

      Ok, but it's stupid and won't work. This is a technological advancement that is showing that the current business model for cell phone companies is dying. They either need to find a way to cut prices to be competitive with VoIP or they need to embrace VoIP themselves.

      Perhaps you are familiar with what has happened to the CD recording industry when the established players didn't pay any fscking att

  • I thought MS was trying to WIN marketshare in mobile devices back from Apple, and this is how they do it??? Someone needs to throw a chair at Ballmer and tell him MS is the UNDERDOG in this market and Apple/Symbian are far, far ahead.
    • This isn't about devices, this is about an App Store. If I understand correctly, you can install whatever you want on MS devices, you just can't get everything from the app store. From Apple, you can't install anything on the device you purchase from them without their permission.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oodaloop ( 1229816 )
      And RIM is ahead of them. I read just yesterday that RIM overtook Apple in marketshare of mobile devices. Not that any of us ever doubted Linux would one day surpass MS and Apple.
      • (1) RIM sold more devices in the last quarter; marketshare has nothing to do with that. You are quoting nonsense. In addition, iPhone sales dropped off a cliff last year when people realized a new iPhone model was on its way, and the same is happening now.

        (2) What the hell are you talking about with Linux surpassing MS and Apple? RIM devices don't run Linux. The closest thing which exists to handheld UNIX is the iPhone, which is based on BSD UNIX and the Darwin kernel, just like the desktop version of Mac O

      • by mgblst ( 80109 )

        Wow, you really don't understand it, do you. But don't let that stop your from posting your mangled rubbish.

        RIM has always had a higher marketshare from Apple, since RIM has been around 4 times longer than Apple, and sell devices on all networks. They have over 50 million devices, iPhone has over 20 million.

        Now, what you recently read was that there was a BB model that sold more in the last quarter than Apple, beating the iPhone for the first time since the 3G model. BB has always sold more than the iPhone,

  • *chants* Android! Android! Android! Their motto is "Do No Evil", and I'm very gullible!
  • dialers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iocat ( 572367 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:11AM (#27844431) Homepage Journal
    Sadly one of the banned apps is the only thing that would make me return to WM -- an alternate dialer. The default dialer app uses about 50% of the screen real-estate for the virtual buttons, pretty much necessitating the use of a stylus to dial. Apple uses almost 100% of the screen, making dialing with your finger on glass much more reliable. Of course, the BlackBerry uses actual buttons, so that's what I have.
    • by Andy_R ( 114137 )

      I think it might be allowed, the wording isn't all that clear about it (so much for the question of clarity!). It prohibits apps that "replace, remove or modify the default dialer". Does this include alternate dialers that peacefully coexist with the default one? That depends how you interpret the word 'replace'.

      • That was my interpretation as well. An app can duplicate functionality (alternate dialers, browsers, etc.) but not overwrite the existing MS-provided apps or, in the install process, make itself the default behavior for certain actions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kyuubi42 ( 1424889 )

      But the beauty of windows mobile is that you do not have to go through an app store, installing apps on your own does not void the warrenty.

      This is just guidelines for what MS will allow in the store, and it makes sense that they would not like to advertise competing products.

    • There are other dialer apps you can install. You don't need the App Store for that.

      And there are WinMo phones with actual buttons.

    • Why not just get a WM phone with buttons?
    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

      They may have psychological reasons because of name... dialers on windows you know ;)

  • VOIP is NOT banned (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:13AM (#27844459) Homepage Journal

    Ignore the sensationalist headline, Microsoft's VOIP policy is actually the same as Apple's. VOIP is prohibited when it's over the mobile carrier's network, but it's allowed if it's not going over the mobile network.

    This means the an app that only connects over wifi, like Skype for the iPhone, would be fine.

  • by BroadbandBradley ( 237267 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:14AM (#27844473) Homepage

    Windows® Marketplace for Mobile
    Prohibited Application Types:
            1. Applications that are or distribute alternate marketplaces for content types (applications,
                    games, themes etc.) that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows® Marketplace for
            2. Applications that link to, incent users to download, or otherwise promote alternate
                    marketplaces for content types that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows
                    Marketplace for Mobile.
            3. Applications that promote or link users to a website, or contain functionality within the
                    application itself, which encourages or requires the user to purchase or pay to upgrade the
                    application outside of Windows® Marketplace for Mobile.
            4. Applications that enable VoIP (Voice over IP) services over a mobile operator network.
            5. Applications that sell, link to, or otherwise promote mobile voice plans.
            6. Applications that display advertising that does not meet the Microsoft Advertising Creative
                    Acceptance Policy Guide
            7. Applications that replace, remove or modify the default dialer, SMS, or MMS interface.
            8. Applications that change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device.
            9. Applications with an OTA (over the air) download >10 MB.
            10. Applications that run code outside Microsoft runtimes (native, managed, and widgets)
            11. Applications that publish a userâ(TM)s location information to any other person without first having
                    received the userâ(TM)s express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user a
                    means of opting out of having their location information published.
            12. Applications that publish a userâ(TM)s data from their mobile device to any other person without first
                    having received the userâ(TM)s express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user
                    a means of opting out of having their data published. A âoeuserâ(TM)s dataâ includes, without limit,
                    contacts, photos, SMS or other text communication, browsing history, location information, and
                    other data either stored on the mobile device or stored in the âoecloudâ but accessible from the
                    mobile device
    Microsoft reserves the right to update these policies as needed to protect the Windows® Marketplace
    for Mobile service or the users of the service

    • by wild_quinine ( 998562 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:27AM (#27844611) Homepage

      Windows® Marketplace for Mobile
      Prohibited Application Types:
      1. Applications that... etc

      Basically 'You can't sell stuff in our store which directly competes with the stuff we sell in our store?'

      That sounds like a perfectly reasonable policy for a store owner to have.

      That only becomes a problem when you have a monopoly. In this case, Microsoft don't. They don't across Platforms because of Apple, Palm, Android, and they don't within their own platform, because you can go elsewhere for apps (unlike with Apple!)

    • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:41AM (#27844793)
      1-3 make good business sense
      4,5,7,9 are probably rules pushed by the provider
      7,8,10 protect tech support
      11,12 are to protect the consumer
      6 is probably just a loophole to make sure they can get around any creative ideas that would have been intended to fall under 1-3 but might not be covered.

      Of course if you are unhappy with these rules maybe you could return to the open and free policies of buying apps for your iPhone...
    • by tcdk ( 173945 )

      7. Applications that replace, remove or modify the default dialer, SMS, or MMS interface.

      8. Applications that change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device.

      In other words: anything that makes our crappy OS suck less...

      It's kind of strange that they think this is okay, but they haven't added "email client" to one the above lists. Maybe they just forgot it or they know, that mobile outlook is so crappy that it would be useless...

    • Oh good. The shaken baby app can be ported to WM without running afoul of MicroSoft's App Guidelines. ~

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:32AM (#27844685)
    Man, who would have thought the once-cool MS would one day become as heavy-handed as Apple!
    • Huh... You can still go to and install software they provide... just try that with an iPhone without jailbreaking it...
  • Apple's policy may be messy, but for me the important difference is that MS doesn't seem to be interested in individual developers (see faq []. As a result, I (currently iPhone developer) do not care for them either.
    • Yeh, we have recently seen how much Apple cares about its developers, with the recent stories of their payment system being months behind.

  • ... game with VoIP, that needs 15 MB and has its own in-game browser. How will I sell this thing now! *waaaaahh*

    I even had a cool name for it: eMacs mobile

    • The same way you could always sell apps for Windows Mobile. This isn't Apple we're talking about here, Microsoft doesn't restrict how you write, install or sell apps at all. These are just the rules to use their store.

  • Can you imagine what it would be like, if there was one central store for your personal computer software?

    The situation with the phones (Apple's, Google's, Microsoft's) is totally absurd.

    And yet, people are talking about the restrictions on the software in "market," rather than the existence of these "markets" and the railroading of so many users into them.

    User, you've got TCP/IP. The world should be your market.

    • You do know that only one of the companies you have listed actually restricts people to their marketplace, and that it's trivially easy to find applications for the other two somewhere else?

  • 12 more reasons (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tragedy4u ( 690579 )
    To not get a Windows Mobile device
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Why is this news?

      Because this is news for nerds and this is a site that has news for nerds.

  • Actually... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shadow7789 ( 1000101 )
    Actually, I think the restrictions are reasonable. One thing to note is that it doesn't say the apps must change your default browser or dialer back to Microsoft's, it says you can't change them at all. In a way, this could be viewed as a good thing. Do I really want my copy of "Epic Game" changing my default browser from Opera for example? Or changing my dialer to something they made to promote their game? I think what MS is doing is fine, sure there is the problem that you can't get alternate browser
  • I can understand why network operators ban the protocols. Particularly when they offer their own phone services. But why Microsoft? Are they getting into the phone biz themselves?

    Be afraid, Verizon (Qwest, AT&T, et al). Be very afraid.

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:05PM (#27849745)
    Where as Microsoft has to list 12 different type of applications they won't allow in their store, as usual the Apple list is both shorter and simpler. It consists of: Apps we or AT&T simply don't like.
  • For years, I wondered one thing... Why on earth Symbian developers are so paranoid about the .sisx (installer) size while everyone on planet who can afford a $20 application has a flat/wifi line? For a goodly written Symbian application, the "device on board flash" is not an issue either, you can install the application to memory card and it can swap in/out to built in flash (e.g. temp files). J2ME developers on other hand, has some issues and I can understand them. The deep issue with J2ME is the sandbox s

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