Windows 8 to Include Software Kill Switch

Dennis Faas's picture

Windows 8 is said to include a new 'app store', where users can browse and install software for their PCs and mobile devices through Microsoft.

The news is welcomed by many, as the apps will be under strict regulations. Microsoft, however, will retain the ability to delete or remove software programs ("apps") that it deems necessary. The ability to remotely delete software on whim, critics say, gives too much power to Microsoft.

Microsoft Offers "Try Before You Buy"

Software developers using Microsoft's new app store will be able to offer trial copies of their software that users can later upgrade to full versions. They'll also be able to take in-app payments, potentially allowing users to subscribe to software services.

By supporting app store payments, the company hopes to allay users' fears about buying from unknown vendors. (Source:

App Store Versus Manual Installation

Rather than having to buy software from a developer or retailer and then install it, users will be able to add software directly to their PCs through Microsoft's web portal.

This central resource will save users from having to rely on recommendations via the Internet (which can be potentially dangerous), although they will still be able to obtain and install software in the accustomed manner.

The installation of new apps will be carried out through the app store itself. This may reduce problems of developers releasing applications that aren't properly set up to install or uninstall, which can lead to performance problems within Windows operating systems.

Remote Killswitch for Non-legitimate Software

Microsoft's terms and conditions for the app store are causing something of a stir, however.

They include the warning that, "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." (Source:

Such a clause is common in mobile device app stores, but would be a big departure from the current situation with PCs, where Microsoft literally has no control over the software people install or run, even when it's known to be a security risk.

Responses to the new set-up will depend greatly on how much folks trust Microsoft. Both Apple and Google have the same power to disable or delete apps, known as a 'killswitch.' But only Google has used that power. On those occasions, the apps were a genuine security risk and the move met with little controversy.

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