May 6, 2009

Microsoft Prohibits VOIP Apps from its Mobile Store

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by Franz Bicar

Microsoft has barred VOIP applications along with 11 other types of application from its Mobile Store. There are 12 prohibited application types that Microsoft listed for developers who register to create software for the store. These types include apps that are larger than 10MB and apps that change the default browser on a device. Of course, VOIP apps also can virtually never set foot inside the Mobile Store.

Marketplace for Mobile is due to launch in the second half of the year, along with Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of Microsoft’s mobile OS. Developers are dimayed by this set of rules but at least they are defined as compared to Apple’s App store for the iPhone which is sometimes bombarded with negative comments regarding its sometimes unclear rules why applications have been rejected or approved.

As mentioned, VOIP is prohibited since operators fear that the services will displace their own voice offerings, which bring in the bulk of their revenue. Developers presumably will be able to offer VoIP applications that use Wi-Fi, though.

Also forbidden are programs that allow people to shop at competing application stores, or that change a phone’s default browser, search client or media player. Developers will also be unable to build programs that change the default phone dialer, short message service or multimedia messaging service interface. That could help ensure that standards for services like MMS are upheld.

They will have to work hard if they want to catch up with Apple, which popularized the idea with its iPhone App Store.

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