Microsoft won't let Windows Marketplace users share apps after all

It plans to use its Live ID authentication system to prevent piracy

Contrary to an earlier report, Microsoft Corp. said that purchasers of applications from its upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile e-store won't be allowed to share their wares with friends and family.

But they will still be able to install and run an app on up to five Windows Mobile 6.5 phones at a time, provided they are all linked to the same account.

The Windows Marketplace is expected to launch this fall at the same time Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones arrive.

This is intended to address the "frustration of losing favorite apps and personal information when you lose, upgrade, or add a phone," Microsoft said in a statement Wednesday. "For this reason, if you buy an application on Windows Marketplace for Mobile, you'll be able to reinstall the application on a limited number of additional phones simply and free of charge."

However, "as outlined in the terms of use for Windows Marketplace for Mobile, this ability is limited to phones owned by the person who purchased the application," continued the statement. "Application sharing is not permitted."

According to an excerpt of the Marketplace's unreleased terms of the service provided to Computerworld by Microsoft's public relations agency, "You may install and use one copy of the Application on up to five (5) mobile devices you personally own or control and which are affiliated with the Windows Live ID associated with your Windows Marketplace for Mobile account. You may not install or use a copy of the Application on a device you do not own or control."

Users will still be able to get no-questions-asked refunds on apps, provided the request comes within 24 hours of purchase. They will also be able to re-download apps as any times as needed -- as long as they stay under the 5-phone concurrent limit.

Microsoft plans to use its Live ID authentication system to track apps and prevent piracy.

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Eric Lai

Computerworld
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