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By tying NFC and in-app purchases together, Microsoft killed support for legacy devices

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 is fast incoming and promises to deliver more substance behind the company's already slick Metro graphical user interface.  But a key storyline has been the controversy surrounding Microsoft's decision to leave legacy device users out in the cold with no upgrade path to Windows Phone 8.  Instead, they get a partial update -- Windows Phone 7.8.

After Microsoft made that clear, much discussion has focused on which features will and won't be included in Windows Phone 7.8.  The Verge has dug up details from the Windows Phone Developer Center on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), which indicate that Windows Phone 7.8 users will not get in-app purchases.

Microsoft chose to launch Windows Phone from the ground up. As a result, certain commonplace features like cut and paste were mysteriously absent at launch.  Many of those missing features were included in a series of updates -- the biggest of which was Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango".

But Mango apps still lacked in-app purchases, an essential feature for Android and iOS developers.

Rather than go for half-hearted near-field-communications (NFC) wireless payments and in-app payments, Microsoft decided to make a brand-new shiny "Wallet" hub for Windows Phone 8, which securely stores users' credit cards and allows a common payment API.

Windows Phone 8
In-app purchases are only for Windows Phone 8, not WinPhone 7.8. [Image Source: The Verge]

The bad news is that by tying NFC and in-app payments together, Microsoft essentially nixed in-app payments for legacy devices, which lack NFC.  It's still possible that the feature might creep into Windows Phone 7.8, but for now MSDN says that in-app payments will only be available for Windows Phone 8.


Sources: MSDN, The Verge





“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith






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