Microsoft is planning to combat the recent spate of Windows Phone app piracy with new server side encryption, according to reports.
The current state of the Windows Phone Marketplace allows users to download XAP application packages direct from Microsoft’s servers and sideload them using the ChevronWP7 labs tool or Microsoft’s official developer unlock. The practice allows users to pirate applications based on the acquisition of a XAP file. A number of developers have been left frustrated after having their XAP files made available to download freely.
Ars Technica reports (via WPCentral) that this is about to change. Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” includes support for a new type of application encryption that prevents the piracy seen today. Microsoft is reportedly waiting to ensure that the majority of Windows Phone users have upgraded to Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” before enabling the encryption support. The support will wrap XAP packages in a new layer of protection, preventing them from being sideloaded after they are published and downloaded from the Marketplace.
Nokia’s Music and Maps applications have both been ripped from their Lumia devices and ported over to non-Nokia devices. The Finnish handset maker is reportedly sending out cease and desist notices to sites involved in hosting the pirated applications. Nokia ships a Maps, Drive and Music application exclusively on its Windows Phone devices.