Microsoft Adds Kill-Switch to Windows Store Terms and Conditions

Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming applications store for Windows 8, the Windows Store, will include the facility for the company to remotely wipe apps and data should it so choose.

In terms and conditions published by the software firm as part of the Windows Store, the company confirms that applications installed through the service will be available only as long as Microsoft chooses to make them so.

In a section asking whether Microsoft has the ability to remove apps or data from Windows 8 devices, the company explains: "We may change or discontinue certain apps or content offered in the Windows Store at any time, for any reason [...] 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.

"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," the company's terms and conditions continue.

In this, it is taking a leaf from the likes of Apple and Google, both of which include similar terms and conditions for software purchased via their respective applications stores.

Although it claims it will only do so in cases where there is a legitimate cause - a security risk or legal concern - it reflects a growing trend in the industry for consumers to be seen as 'licensing' rather than 'purchasing' their software.

Recently, bookseller Amazon landed itself in hot water when it deleted electronic copies of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four from its customers' Kindle eReaders due to a copyright claim, causing those who had made notes via the Kindle's annotation functionality to lose their data.

Microsoft has yet to confirm whether the kill-switch functionality will exist for all applications, or just those 'apps' using the Metro UI functionality. "It's really the early days yet," a spokesperson told BusinessInsider. "The terms of use applies to apps that people are creating now. More info will be shared as we get closer to release."