Windows 8 apps can be deleted remotely by Microsoft

Windows 8 will certainly contain a number of new features and one of them is being set up as a safety net against any Windows 8 apps that might cause a security risk. In the Terms of Use document posted up for the upcoming Windows Store feature, Microsoft says that any application purchased and downloaded from the store can be disabled or even deleted from Windows 8 remotely by the company.

In the document, Microsoft says:

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.

The Terms of Use adds that Microsoft could refund a person for the loss of a paid Windows 8 app from the Windows Store.

Computerworld.com points out that this kind of practice is not unusual. Both Apple and Google have similar "kill switches" in place to disable or delete apps from the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace, respectively. It also points out that Microsoft already has a policy in place for Windows Store app developers that prevents them from using the push notification service to "provide an entry point for viruses, malware, or any other malicious software."

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Its like the car manufacturers putting in ejection seats they can activate when you have passengers they don't like. Or a trapdoor in your gas tank that can be triggered if you use the "wrong" brand of fuel...... Big Brother knows best.....

I think it's a known fact that Windows Store apps can't be really "owned" by you like Win32 apps. I wish though that they can be backed up and "restored" without a connection to the Windows Store.

One thing to point out:

In the Windows Store, only Metro apps are avaliable. "Regular desktop" apps are not so this "kill switch" is not avaliable for them. I can see it coming to "Windows 9" though...

htcz said,
One thing to point out:

In the Windows Store, only Metro apps are avaliable. "Regular desktop" apps are not so this "kill switch" is not avaliable for them. I can see it coming to "Windows 9" though...

Very scary to be honest, just the fact that we are constantly monitored. Google and Apple are masters in that game. MS has been better but if they fully go that route they won't see a penny from me. Time for Customized Linux distribution. Google and Apple never saw penny from me and never will.

techguy77 said,

Very scary to be honest, just the fact that we are constantly monitored. Google and Apple are masters in that game. MS has been better but if they fully go that route they won't see a penny from me. Time for Customized Linux distribution. Google and Apple never saw penny from me and never will.


Like I said, most people wont give a **** as this doesnt affect normal PC applications.

They will put in the Windows Store normal PC applications at some point...

An excellent reason why "cloud computing" is nebulous at best. Nothing like a CD or DVD to ensure that what you have bought is real. I notice the phrase that MS "could" refund your money--not "will." Sounds risky to me.

Meanwhile, I desperately want apps to disappear from my Amazon Appstore list, with no apparent way to do it. >.<

Any connected OS since the 90s at the VERY least has had this ability for any Applications and/or data.

If this seems hard to believe, Anti-virus software has been doing this since the late 1980s.

There have been few documented abuses of these types of technology, with Apple being the main perpetrator of removing Apps and Data for non essential security reasons.

Every OS, including, Linux distributions can rip Applications and data off your computer with any update or automated patch.

Phew. And I thought that they could delete the App from your computer itself!
Other than that, it would be strange if they didn't stand up to this position, why would they leave roaming around illegal or security-risk apps?

recursive said,
How would they do this if the phone isn't connected to the internet?

Yes not phones... (Phones are always connected, if they are using a carrier, so having a phone NOT connected to the internet is impossible today.)

However, this is about the Desktop Apps sold through the Microsoft Store. And yes in theory if you never hooked the computer up to the internet again, they couldn't unless the App had a periodic subscription of renewal policy that turns it off after a period of time.

recursive said,
How would they do this if the phone isn't connected to the internet?

If your phone wasn't connected to the Internet, you wouldn't be using the phone's app store, now would you?

Corp/Govt control = You don't get decide ultimately what you get to keep. Stay tuned, incremental increases will continue.

I don't care if other companies do it too, it's bad for the public. How about an opt out? Too simple. No amount of "copyright","safety", "terrorism", "child porn" or other reasons are legitimate to me.

What if it were in place right now? What if OWS or some other group developed a killer app that allowed them to do their thing more effectively, big brother would call it terrorism and kill it by calling Microsoft. THAT is the reason it sucks ultimately.

Justifying this is to be expected from corporations and government, what kills me are the useful idiots that cheer it on and aren't even seeing any compensation or benefit. Brilliant.

Hahaiah said,
Corp/Govt control = You don't get decide ultimately what you get to keep. Stay tuned, incremental increases will continue.

I don't care if other companies do it too, it's bad for the public. How about an opt out? Too simple. No amount of "copyright","safety", "terrorism", "child porn" or other reasons are legitimate to me.

What if it were in place right now? What if OWS or some other group developed a killer app that allowed them to do their thing more effectively, big brother would call it terrorism and kill it by calling Microsoft. THAT is the reason it sucks ultimately.

Justifying this is to be expected from corporations and government, what kills me are the useful idiots that cheer it on and aren't even seeing any compensation or benefit. Brilliant.

Then don't download trash and load it. Why would you care about the morons that want to download form third parties and destroy their devices?

Hahaiah said,
What if it were in place right now? What if OWS or some other group developed a killer app that allowed them to do their thing more effectively, big brother would call it terrorism and kill it by calling Microsoft. THAT is the reason it sucks ultimately.
...and what's stopping that group making a non-Metro version, or using a website, or whatever? There is a far greater potential for good than there is for harm--there have already been several stories of malicious apps being deleted from the iOS and Android app stores but I don't recall any stories of deleting apps to serve the interests of The Man.

You go fight the power or whatever using Windows 7 or non-Metro software or whatever; the rest of us will enjoy the increased security and complain only when and if remote deletion is used for the wrong reasons.

Arkose said,
...and what's stopping that group making a non-Metro version, or using a website, or whatever? There is a far greater potential for good than there is for harm--there have already been several stories of malicious apps being deleted from the iOS and Android app stores but I don't recall any stories of deleting apps to serve the interests of The Man.

You go fight the power or whatever using Windows 7 or non-Metro software or whatever; the rest of us will enjoy the increased security and complain only when and if remote deletion is used for the wrong reasons.

Sorry to upset you maam. But not everyone wants or needs a big daddy to oversee and control their use of everything. There is nothing wrong with an "opt out". Fighting that point means you want to eliminate choice, which whether or not you agree with is a bad idea to most people. The potential for abuse will never outweigh the benefits.

Hahaiah said,
Corp/Govt control = You don't get decide ultimately what you get to keep. Stay tuned, incremental increases will continue.

I don't care if other companies do it too, it's bad for the public. How about an opt out? Too simple. No amount of "copyright","safety", "terrorism", "child porn" or other reasons are legitimate to me.

What if it were in place right now? What if OWS or some other group developed a killer app that allowed them to do their thing more effectively, big brother would call it terrorism and kill it by calling Microsoft. THAT is the reason it sucks ultimately.

Justifying this is to be expected from corporations and government, what kills me are the useful idiots that cheer it on and aren't even seeing any compensation or benefit. Brilliant.

And this is just now making you upset? Computers since the 60s and the separation of hardware and software with any type of service contract or remote access in the 80s and 90s have been subject to this type of control.

To not realize this, is naive.

thenetavenger said,

And this is just now making you upset? Computers since the 60s and the separation of hardware and software with any type of service contract or remote access in the 80s and 90s have been subject to this type of control.

To not realize this, is naive.

You're a bit special aren't you? I think anyone reading this will quickly know what I mean.

thenetavenger said,

And this is just now making you upset? Computers since the 60s and the separation of hardware and software with any type of service contract or remote access in the 80s and 90s have been subject to this type of control.

To not realize this, is naive.

It is naive not to realize that this will be added to the existing MS licenses terms therefore will give the company a power they did not have before.

As for Apple or Google doing the same................ I cannot care less............. I use MS products and what MS does affects me, not what Apple or Google do.

Hahaiah said,

There is nothing wrong with an "opt out".

There is an opt-out. It's called "don't use the Windows Store to buy apps." Problem solved.

techguy77 said,
This is scary ****!

Hope you are being sarcastic, but in case not, I repeat...

Anyone that thinks Apple, or Google, or Microsoft, or even most Linux Distributions, can not issue a revoke of any Application through various methods are insane or undereducated.

Amodin said,

No it isn't, this is a standard already with Android and Apple.


This is true, but my PC is not a damn smartphone. The App store is them trying to compete with tablets and smartphones while taking more control of the platform.

Amodin said,

No it isn't, this is a standard already with Android and Apple.

That is why i don't use Android and Apple and never will.

thenetavenger said,

Hope you are being sarcastic, but in case not, I repeat...

Anyone that thinks Apple, or Google, or Microsoft, or even most Linux Distributions, can not issue a revoke of any Application through various methods are insane or undereducated.

I haven't been sarcastic. Speaking of revoking application MS can't do it here because i hacked the crap out of that Windows to remove anything which connects to Internet without my knowledge. I am running very minimal Windows 7 version. The reason i did is because i don't trust anyone.

majortom1981 said,
Doesnt apple do this also?

No. Apple has never remote deleted apps even when the apps were removed from the store.

Rosyna said,

No. Apple has never remote deleted apps even when the apps were removed from the store.

Wrong...

Apple can remote wipe your iPad,iPod,iPhone and Mac, including all your data. They have done this numerous times on iOS, and a few times on OS X prior to the OS X App Store.

Anyone that thinks Apple, or Google, or Microsoft, or even most Linux Distributions, can not issue a revoke of any Application through various methods are insane or undereducated.

The thing I hate about this model is the fact they can do it for stupid reasons.....

Say I buy a game now for oh $20.... 10yrs from now I still have it and play it, the publisher claims their license is now invalid for something in the game, oooh gota delete it! now I lost the game and probably the $20 because they will claim you used it for 10yrs you got your $20 worth.....

kinda like how games on nintendo that where licensed in the 90's now cant be relicensed for sale on the Wii (bad example I know, but it just shows licenses expire)

and when a license expires do they remove the program?...

neufuse said,
The thing I hate about this model is the fact they can do it for stupid reasons.....

Say I buy a game now for oh $20.... 10yrs from now I still have it and play it, the publisher claims their license is now invalid for something in the game, oooh gota delete it! now I lost the game and probably the $20 because they will claim you used it for 10yrs you got your $20 worth.....

kinda like how games on nintendo that where licensed in the 90's now cant be relicensed for sale on the Wii (bad example I know, but it just shows licenses expire)

and when a license expires do they remove the program?...

In those cases, you don't have to delete the app from your device, they're just legally no longer allowed to sell. You'll still own it and it'll still be on your device, be it'll no longer be listed for download.

Well, blame the publisher, not the store. And support indie games.

People have no problem boycotting en masse products out of principle, regardless of how enjoyable they are to use (types of food, stuff with animal testing, etc). But for some reason, gamers feel entitled to every product they feel like owning the way they want to own it. DRM 'ruins' this or that, publishers 'ruin' this or that, but dagnabbit they're going to own (or pirate--CUZ THAT TOTALLY SOLVES PROBLEMS TROLOLOL) the game anyway, because they DESERVE it.

Seriously. Start a movement. Hippies were motivated with organic food. Are you saying hippies are better than you? Vegans are better than you?

You don't deserve your bacon. *spit*

neufuse said,
The thing I hate about this model is the fact they can do it for stupid reasons.....

Say I buy a game now for oh $20.... 10yrs from now I still have it and play it, the publisher claims their license is now invalid for something in the game, oooh gota delete it! now I lost the game and probably the $20 because they will claim you used it for 10yrs you got your $20 worth.....

kinda like how games on nintendo that where licensed in the 90's now cant be relicensed for sale on the Wii (bad example I know, but it just shows licenses expire)

and when a license expires do they remove the program?...

According to the time value of money... that $20 in 10 years would be $0

"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."

The first part is fine, I even kinda like it... The second however is not OK, there are legal reasons where they'd have to stop distributing the app, but there is no law that say they also have to take the app from anyone who bought it (is there?).

Why am I against that second part so much? Well, had Apple had the same clause in their terms of use they could have removed VLC from my devices and my harddrive after they had to take uit of the App Store.

Leonick said,

Why am I against that second part so much? Well, had Apple had the same clause in their terms of use they could have removed VLC from my devices and my harddrive after they had to take uit of the App Store.

microsoft would not have removed VLC in the first place... And microsoft will not systematically remove apps from user devices, only when it is forced to do so (by law or by security reasons). Same as apple/google.


and there will still be ways to run apps outside the marketplace, either on the classic desktop (maybe x86 only), or through direct appx installation (using the enterprise/developper deployment features)

Leonick said,

Why am I against that second part so much? Well, had Apple had the same clause in their terms of use they could have removed VLC from my devices and my harddrive after they had to take uit of the App Store.
When Apple removed VLC, everyone who had purchased it got to keep it. They would only wipe it if it contained malware.

I'm pretty sure most appstores can (I'm pretty sure the android one can too). It's mostly to prevent malware and wouldn't be used for other reasons

Rudy said,
I'm pretty sure most appstores can (I'm pretty sure the android one can too). It's mostly to prevent malware and wouldn't be used for other reasons

indeed, even amazon can remove books remotely on the kindle!

Of course, classic win32/.net apps running on the classic windows 8 desktop are not affected by this policy (some readers may be mislead by the title of this article which states "windows 8 apps" instead of "metro/winRT apps").

Microsoft is not going to remotely wipe your pirated games and warez on windows 8.

Rudy said,
wouldn't be used for other reasons

You mean it isn't used for other things right now. They could potentially use it for anything.