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Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is about to give pornography, suggestive images, and racy text the beat down.  (Source: YouTube)
Windows Phone 7 bans porn, suggestive content, and racy text

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has recently led a crusade against pornography on the iPhone and iPod touch.  Emboldened perhaps by the vocal cries of family advocacy groups, Jobs engaged in a 2 a.m. flame war with a news editor arguing that he is offering the world "freedom from porn."  Jobs has dismissed Google's Android handsets as dirty "porn phones."

Now Microsoft looks to continue "following in Apple's line" as one Microsoft exec involved with Windows Phone 7 once put it.  Microsoft has announced elaborate restrictions [PDF] to cure its app developers and users of their dirty, puerile urges.

The first prohibition is fairly predictable:
  • Any content of a sexual nature depicting children or animals.
From there they get increasingly subjective, though:
  • Sex / Nudity – Images that are suggestive or sexual (e.g. sexually provocative touching, bondage, masturbation) or provocative images that reveal nipples, genitals, buttocks, or pubic hair.
  • Any adult and/or borderline adult content (images or text).
  • Content that generally falls under the category of pornography.
  • Content that depicts or suggests prostitution.
  • Any content depicting sexual fetishes.
The ban on provocative or suggestive content means its unlikely that swimsuit apps like an app featuring Sports Illustrated's swimsuit models will come to the phone anytime soon.  And the ban on app suggesting prostitution may make it tough for apps like Grand Theft Auto to reach the phone in all their glory.

It's unclear whether these prohibitions existed in the Windows Mobile 6.x marketplace era, but were merely not broadly publicized or are something new.  What is clear is that Microsoft is taking a hard-nosed stance when it comes to sexual content and is making it absolutely clear that it will not be tolerated in the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem. 

In the words of Steve Jobs, "If you want porn, get an Android."

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How stupid...
By safcman84 on 6/8/2010 10:48:35 AM , Rating: 4
are MS ?

Apple gets criticised for being so closed and restrictive, and MS decide they want to do the same.

MS should do the opposite if they want to get any market share, cos all the closed platform fanatics already buy Apple products.

I dont trust Google on privacy

I dont like Apple cos it is so restrictive

Now MS is going restrictive

Looks like I am going to have to wait and see on WebOS, and see what they offer.

RE: How stupid...
By Totally on 6/8/2010 10:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
Reply just go with android, Right now I'm taking a good hard look at the Evo 4G, and waiting on the WP7 offering before I buy but news like this is starting to make me think that they might not be worth the wait.

RE: How stupid...
By Jeffk464 on 6/8/2010 11:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
Na the best thing going is going to be when verizon gets LTE(4G) going at the end of the year and releases a 4G android phone. That might be worth the wait.

RE: How stupid...
By omnicronx on 6/8/2010 10:59:18 AM , Rating: 5
Seriously anyone complaining about this has no life...

You don't need pornography on the app store to watch porn, period.. You have the internet at your fingertips, is it really that terrible that you can't download porn from the official app store?

You are also kidding yourself if you think they will ban blockbuster games like GTA if the situation were to arise.

RE: How stupid...
By snaxmaster on 6/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: How stupid...
By omnicronx on 6/8/2010 11:51:27 AM , Rating: 5
Are you a moron? You have absolutely no right to dictate how a private company operates.

Having no porn in a closed system is merely a marketing tool, both companies probably want to give parents some peace of mind.

As I said, there are many avenues to watch porn on any device, and I fully understand why a company does not want to be associated with porn.

If you want to practice free speech, don't buy these devices! Thats your right, but thats where your rights ends.

RE: How stupid...
By Mitch101 on 6/8/2010 1:22:08 PM , Rating: 3
Its like someone protesting that Disney doesn't carry porn and that violates their rights.

RE: How stupid...
By theapparition on 6/8/2010 12:19:07 PM , Rating: 2

Go to your local Wal-mart and demand porn from them. Why is it any different from an internet store?

I have no problem with Apple/MS purging applications they deem inappropriate/racist/etc from their store.

Where I draw the line is with Apple, who will not let you install anything they don't approve. They have the right to not approve what they want to sell in thier store, but do not have the right to tell me what I am allowed to buy and install, and from whom to purchase, etc.

Hopefully, MS will not go down the same path and allow 3rd party apps to install.

Besides, as mentioned, plety of things to see when you have web access. No application required. (although most apps are just stripped down web pages)

RE: How stupid...
By UNHchabo on 6/8/2010 1:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully, MS will not go down the same path and allow 3rd party apps to install.

MS has said that at the very least, they will allow you to install programs to your own phone using Visual Studio, so that means you can install all open-source 3rd party apps, at least.

Since this will work even with the Express editions of Visual Studio, this means that you don't have to pay anything in order to load your own apps onto the phone.

RE: How stupid...
By Smilin on 6/8/2010 2:54:26 PM , Rating: 3

Stupid internet argument #142.

"A <person,company> can't tell me whats to says. I has got teh FREEDOM OF SPEECH!"

It's always from some angry little person that doesn't understand the difference between govornment and individuals.

Lawsuits. Oh man that's rich.

RE: How stupid...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2010 6:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's not about porn, it's about companies selling you a product and then dictating how you use said product. I expect this from Apple, but Microsoft!? Windows would NEVER have the marketshare it currently does if they treated it like this.

RE: How stupid...
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 8:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to me that it's not just from the official app store, but all apps in general. Or at least that's what I'm lead to believe from what I read in the article. Yea, you have internet, but wasn't WM7 not going to have flash for a while? Good luck with looking at porn without flash.

That said, who watches porn on their phone? I don't watch porn in public and that's the only place where I would be using my cell phone to watch videos. In private I've got my own computer to watch stuff like that. Not a big loss IMO, but it's still pretty stupid.

RE: How stupid...
By safcman84 on 6/9/2010 4:54:17 AM , Rating: 2
you missed my point....

Dont care about porn apps, i do care about MS following Apple's example.

I dont buy Apple's products due to their police state mentality, and now MS is starting to do the same.

RE: How stupid...
By Jeffk464 on 6/8/2010 11:12:15 AM , Rating: 3
I guess this means android will be the dominant phone OS. Why would MS do something like this when they are the underdog in the phone OS market. Winmo7 was pretty much there best hope of regaining market share. MS has been making bad mistakes and with competitors like Google I don't think they can afford to make mistakes.

RE: How stupid...
By mcnabney on 6/8/2010 11:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
I was hoping they would apply the same standards to Xbox360.

/won't somebody think of the children?
//no, not that way.

RE: How stupid...
By omnicronx on 6/8/2010 12:27:04 PM , Rating: 4
Are you seriously trying to imply that a porn sells phones? Taking this further are you seriously trying to imply that porn APPS sell phones?

Get this through your heads, from a business perspective, having porn on the app store is far more likely to have a negative impact than a positive one.

Android does not sell because you can have crappy porn apps on your phone (which all suck btw), its sells because of its openness.

So to say that Windows Phone's hang in the balance because of their porn omission really makes me laugh. You are kidding yourself if you think more people care about having porn on your phone, then off of it. Either way Windows Phone is a closed platform, this is what will make the difference, not the fact you can get porn apps.

RE: How stupid...
By MozeeToby on 6/8/2010 2:09:40 PM , Rating: 3
The argument isn't that porn apps sell phones, the argument is that I want a phone where I get to decide what is and isn't installed on it. Now granted, MS has said that you will be able to install third party apps that aren't from the official store but the same cannot be said for Apple. And I wouldn't be surprised if after a few months that ability goes away (when they start to see piracy as a threat to their app store model).

On an Android phone, all I have to do is go into settings and check a box and I can download apps directly to my phone and install them. Google doesn't like the app that I'm downloading? Too bad for them, I can get it anyway. You're right, the argument is that they are closed platforms versus Android's open platform. Today the most obvious example of that closed-ness is porn, tomorrow (or even yesterday) it might be a competitors VOIP software, search tools, etc.

RE: How stupid...
By omnicronx on 6/8/2010 3:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
Today the most obvious example of that closed-ness is porn, tomorrow (or even yesterday) it might be a competitors VOIP software, search tools, etc.
Ahhh.. but you see this is where you are getting a false sense of true openess with Android. They still reserve the exact same right to remove applications for whatever reason, and have done so in the past. (i.e tethering apps for certain carriers). There is also a built in kill switch just like all other platforms.

So this problem is not limited to closed platforms, even 'open' platforms like Android are affected.

Good post though, and I 100% agree, I don't like anyone telling me what I can and cannot do. At the same time I still respect their right to do so. I won't support them, but I do respect the decision from a business perspective.

That being said, I think people give Androids 'openness' far too much credit when it comes to its popularity. They have a variety of devices (I for one do not want to have the same phone as everyone else), with cheaper phones/plans than their competitors. I really find it hard to believe that guys like you and I are the majority. I can see it on the developer end, but I can't see it on the consumer end of things.

RE: How stupid...
By MozeeToby on 6/8/2010 3:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
True, Google can and has pulled apps from their app store but the point is that if that happens I can go to the developer's homepage and download the application from there, without rooting my phone or voiding my warranty.

Put another way, my favorite 5 apps on my droid aren't available on the iPhone due to Apple's restrictions. I don't use the built in browser, onscreen keyboard, or widgets. I enjoy playing emulators (NES, SNES, even Gameboy Advance) and Google Voice. All of which aren't available on an unrooted iPhone, and except for the browser I wouldn't expect them to be available on a Windows device either.

RE: How stupid...
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 8:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
I can give you most of those, but emulators? Seriously, what company would openly support that? They are illegal no matter how you look at it.

RE: How stupid...
By sprockkets on 6/8/2010 9:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
emulators are perfectly legal; its the roms that aren't

but we know, apple banned that torrent app that controls torrents from the iphone on the computer, because all torrents are evil.

RE: How stupid...
By Supa on 6/8/2010 4:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is following Apple with no initial cut-and-paste function for windows phone 7, now this? Wonder what they are thinking.

RE: How stupid...
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 8:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
That playing copy-cat will allow for success. Pretty sure that's never worked in any market though.

Who cares?
By XSpeedracerX on 6/8/2010 11:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
Windows phone six was lame. Win phone seven will probably be lame too. No one will be affected by win phone seven because no one will buy it. RIM/ iPhone OS/ Android are all ahead of windows phone in market share and good luck changing that with a phone OS that can't even cut/copy/paste like any iPod touch can.

RE: Who cares?
By mcnabney on 6/8/2010 11:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
When WinPhone7 comes out, it is going to have to deal with Droid Pro and Scorpion. Microsoft has succeeded in making a product which is inferior to both the Apple and Google ecosystems with nothing to uniquely identify it outside of acting like a Zune. I guess Palm is lonely in it's coffin...

RE: Who cares?
By satveeraj on 6/8/2010 2:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
Keep telling yourself that while the rest of us wait for the market to decide. Have you actually done a side by side test of all the these phones to be released before you proceed to completely trash one or the other? Just reading snippets of articles and summing up your own personal view is not how the market works. Perhaps you can create a billboard of your opinions and hope someone will even consider looking at it.

RE: Who cares?
By mcnabney on 6/8/2010 4:21:37 PM , Rating: 3
Well, I do work in the telecom industry.

I also know that Microsoft doesn't really have a fan base. They have always counted on a monopoly or selling devices at a loss to remain in the market. They practically pay people to use Bing and it still can't compete against Google.

What is happening with WinPhone7 is that Microsoft is trying to act like Apple. However, Microsoft can't get away with forgetting to add features like Apple can. It doesn't have a core fanbase that will buy the product in droves no matter what. And most importantly it doesn't bring anything new to the table. In fact, they aren't even bringing anything old to the table since they are breaking compatibility with previous versions. It will be just like Zune (or Palm) and a scant few people will run out and buy it. My guess is that a few manufactures will release versions of it, but they won't sell very well. Android had the chance to build an App store because Apple was sequestered on AT&T. They were the option. Microsoft will not have the opportunity to be the only good touchscreen option to the Apple/AT&T product. Just as Palm went down the drain, so will Microsoft.

RE: Who cares?
By mcnabney on 6/8/2010 4:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
Some of WinPhone7's coffin nails:

No multitasking
No copy/paste
No custom UIs (MotoBlur, Sense UI...) -all devices will look and act the same. Manufactures are going to LOVE not being able to distinguish themselves...
All Apps MUST go through the App store. No installing unapproved apps from websites or from memory cards.
Strict app approval process

You might look at those amazing sales of the Kin 1 & 2 as a sign of what is to come.

Oh wait, there is a reason to get the device. It syncs up really well with Xbox Live. So if you live and die by your Xbox stats or avatar this will certainly be the phone for you.

RE: Who cares?
By satveeraj on 6/8/2010 5:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
You guys just proved my point, write off WinPhone7 before it hits the market.

RE: Who cares?
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 8:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
Let me ask you this: Do you base any of your views off of reviews (Be it for software, games, cars, etc)?

RE: Who cares?
By XSpeedracerX on 6/9/2010 8:33:18 AM , Rating: 1
You guys just proved my point

What point? Winphone 7 is behind previous versions of android and iOS, nevermind the new stuff they both have comming out. Unlike in the PC OS arena where customers can buy windows or do without 98% of all x86 software, this is the phone arena, where customers have a real choice between winphone and the other guys, so they don't have to put up with the usual BS from microsoft if they don't have to. Whats more is they also don't have the iCult users who will buy from them no matter what they do like apple does.

Winphone 7 is behind what you can get today and will have to compete with what you'll be able to get tomorrow. They're fucked which ever way you want to look at it.

By RamarC on 6/8/2010 11:03:04 AM , Rating: 5
Content that depicts or suggests prostitution.
Any content depicting sexual fetishes.

those two items will keep the cop on the undercover prostitution sting and mr. garrison teaching the kindergarteners off the small screen.

i wonder how many other tv shows will fall victim to this nannying.

Pains me to say this...
By gralex on 6/8/2010 11:44:22 AM , Rating: 5
But it looks like our favourite generation of technogeeks need to retire:( Actually alot of our heroes from the 70's & 80's have gone all limp-dicked & politically correct on us. Trey & Stone drove this point home better than anybody when they took on Lucas & Speilberg.

Then again maybe you should just ignore my rant. I'm one of those people that think Larry Flynt is a far healthier role-model than a sociopath wannabe buddhist.

so stupid
By muhahaaha on 6/8/2010 11:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
omg porn! terrible! ban it!!!

but lets watch a movie where people are being killed, limbs torn off, heads rolling, blood spraying.

wtf is wrong with society?

RE: so stupid
By GTVic on 6/8/2010 3:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
Not saying those type of movies are good/bad/OK/not OK but pron is a victimizing industry with serious organized crime involvement including human trafficking, various types of abuse, etc.

Even viewing it on a free web page with ad revenue is supporting the industry and supporting all the underlying abuse.

People are making way too much of this...
By LifeByTheHorns on 6/8/2010 12:41:35 PM , Rating: 2
It is very easy to access sexually explicit material on iPhone and Win Mobile. It always will be. MS and Apple are just saying they won't sell apps for that purpose in their app stores.

This is not much different than Borders and Barnes & Noble not selling porn in their book/video stores.

By tdawg on 6/8/2010 1:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
It is very easy to access sexually explicit material on iPhone and Win Mobile. It always will be. MS and Apple are just saying they won't sell apps for that purpose in their app stores.

[b]This is not much different than Borders and Barnes & Noble not selling porn in their book/video stores.[/b]

Except for the adult magazines sold in both stores, right? Not to mention the "Sexuality" section in Barnes & Noble stores that (at least when I worked there) included collections from Penthouse Forums and other such books thoroughly thumbed through by the local high school population.

I agree, though, the lack of porn apps is a non-issue when any web browser can get you to your favorite sites. If they start filtering URLs, that would become a far greater issue.

Too overbearing
By MrTeal on 6/8/2010 10:44:44 AM , Rating: 2
And the ban on app suggesting prostitution may make it tough for apps like Grand Theft Auto to reach the phone in all their glory.

GTA? By that definition, Windows Media Player app shouldn't be allowed because someone might watch Pretty Woman.

Terms and Conditions
By phatboye on 6/8/2010 11:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
I don't mind MS having terms and conditions for developers in order for their apps to qualify to be allowed on MS's windows mobile marketplace so long as they aren't douche bags like Apple and present a clear and well defined set of standards that all developers must adhere to. Unlike Apple whose term and conditions are not straight forward which basically gives Apple the right to remove any app that Apple sees worthy of removal without any explanation why to the developer.

That being said if you want porn on your mobile device just remember "What those other phones don't, Driod does".

So what?
By morphologia on 6/8/2010 5:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
All they're really doing is preventing any official endorsement of that kind of content. I'm sure there are ways to get that stuff if you want it, but that doesn't mean it needs to be readily available on the company's all-users network.

If they want to bend over (ha!) to the family fascist groups this way, there's no reason to stop them. It's no different having to go the extra mile to get smut, than having to pay extra for a dirty movie channel.

Go fig
By zmatt on 6/8/2010 6:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
I lost all interest in WinMo when they said they were going to make an iPhone os clone. M$ used to be the leader in mobile OS's, now it seems they can't copy Apple fast enough. IMO Android is the rightful heir to the WinMo legacy. I guess v6.1 will be the last version of WinMo I will ever use.

On the plus side
By Trickydicky on 6/9/2010 12:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
provocative images that reveal .... pubic hair .

Surely that's a good thing.

By PrinceGaz on 6/9/2010 11:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
The whole point of an app is it is interactive so unless the pr0n app only uses the accelerometer therby leaving one hand free for "other things", there's not much point in it. There's no restriction on installing pr0n videos on any device (other than perhaps needing to be converted to the correct codecs and container first).

By DKantUno on 6/9/2010 1:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
@tireless internet commenters (haters of major corporations, specifically). If you don't like a WinMo phone, or Apple, or Android, don't buy one. If you happened to buy one and the phone or the company pissed you off somehow, drop an angry email to tech support. You have every right to. But please, please quit ranting and all the faux philosophy lessons. These are technology products - enablers for our lives, that's it. When there's some great technology out there or a fantastic new app, like the iPhone and GMail were respectively from Apple and Google back in the day, let's froth all we want. It's harmless. But to waste one's energy trying to figure out the 'rights' and 'wrongs' is just plain BS. Seriously, I'm sure there are better things worth your attention. And to think of it, mine too. Wandering away...

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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