Microsoft has joined Apple and Google in the list of smartphone manufacturers who allegedly track their users' locations through back doors, a practice that has brought heavy criticism from privacy advocates and some legal action in recent days.
However, the software giant has claims that its policies are different because it only collects data with users' permission.
Microsoft said in a customer support page, “To provide location services, Microsoft assembles and maintains a database that records the location of certain mobile cell towers and Wi-Fi access points.”
The company added, "We believe you should always have choice and control over access and use of your device's location. Before any application can gain access to information regarding a user's location, you must allow,".
Earlier, Apple and Google also came under similar charges of tracking their users locations regularly, allegedly building a database that could help them to secure a large stake in the location-based services market, a market that is already estimated to be worth billions.
While Google defended itself saying that it respects users' rights and takes great care to safeguard this data, Apple has declined to make any comment.