pulled

Sorry folks, we don't have too much to go on here just yet, but we have received numerous tips from readers like yourself that the Official YouTube app from Microsoft is no longer available in the Marketplace in some areas. This seems to have started a few days ago.

This does not apply to the U.S. market but does apply to some in Europe (all?) and at least Singapore too. Could this have to do with Microsoft filing a complaint against Google via the European Union? If you recall, last March Microsoft's Brad Smith blogged about Google's unfair search practices and how they were restricting YouTube, resulting in a sub-par user experience on Windows Phone:

"Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones. Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide."

Our bet? These two are definitely linked. We'll try to find out more, but in the meantime, lets do a roll-call in comments of countries affected. Austria? Check. Belgium?...

Thanks, Marcus H. and Borutes, for the heads up!

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We reported on Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst being pulled from the Marketplace just recently--a shock to many because even though the game had a few issues, it was still quite playable (and other games have the same or worse issues).

The trend of pulling troubled apps/games and then re-submitting them once they are fixed is becoming and unfortunate trend of late and there was no reason not to expect Project Sunburst to return at some point (heck, Twin Blades was gone for months...).

Unfortunately, it looks like the developers of Crackdown 2 have had enough and are throwing in the towel. From their Facebook page:

"As many of you know, Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst has been removed from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on Windows Phone. If you purchased the game in the past 60 days, you will receive a refund credited to your account. Please note: with the removal of this game from the Marketplace, we will be discontinuing this page on Wednesday, July 27."

Ouch. This is a first for an Xbox LIVE game and quite a shame. Project Sunburst was the first game to feature asynchronous gameplay and use GPS/Bing Maps as the playboard--in other words, it was completely unique and imaginative, something that really stood out (even if gameplay was a bit boring after awhile). We really hope that this turns around but it sure doesn't sound like it. Sorry for the bad news folks, we're a bit crushed too.

Thanks, northernpipeman

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Here we go again. The rabidly popular 'Weather Live' app which we reported on last week has disappeared from the Marketplace. The app, which started off at 3 stars quickly rose up in popularity, even bumping the #1 in News & Weather WPCentral app to #2--a first since we released our app months ago.

Now, despite receiving an update or two (we forget), the app is gone from the Marketplace without a trace. Was it the pulling weather data from an un-credited source? Did it violate the Marketplace rules? We're not sure but we hope it returns and soon as it's one of our favorites. The current version still works on your device though, so don't uninstall. This is one of numerous apps that have disappeared recently, including the Colbert Report, MTV News, Kayak, Project Sunburst and Cartoon TV (before it returned, gutted).

We've reached out to the developer for comment and we'll hopefully post a response if/when they get back to us.

Update: We've heard back from the developer--

"The app is using the undocumented (but very popular) Google weather API and late yesterday, there was a major outage at the back end. As such, all live tiles stopped working at the time. I suspect it is because Google blocked my server's access since I have ~1500 queries per hour on the hour...

I made several changes to alleviate the peak load and fortunately they seem to unblocked me this morning. So live tiles started working again. To hopefully ensure users are not subject to the downtime any more, I pulled the app from marketplace.

I do want to come back as this project is really a worthy one to me. However, I am trying to find a good source of data. As you may know, many of them prohibit use by mobile applications."

(Thanks, @Sogeman, for the heads up!)

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Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst is an Xbox Live title that can’t seem to catch any breaks. Sure, when it debuted we gave it a positive review. After all, its ability to use both a phones’ GPS locations and satellite photographs to create in-game maps is quite innovative. But even at launch, the game’s online servers (required to use many of its features) performed sporadically at best. A series of patches that should have fine-tuned its performance instead introduced new issues. It got so bad that one of Project Sunburst’s Achievements became unobtainable for new players, necessitating its inclusion in our Broken Achievements exposé.

This week, Project Treadstone, I mean Sunburst was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace without explanation. We haven’t received a comment from Microsoft yet, but it’s safe to assume that the game’s ongoing problems and customer complaints resulted in the pull. Given that the game started out semi-broken and never became 100% properly functional after several updates, it’s possible that the development team just can’t get it fixed, but that’s a worst-case scenario. Hopefully Microsoft Game Studios cures what ails Project Sunburst and gets it back on the Marketplace soon. In the meantime, people who own the game should not delete it from their devices as they won’t be able to redownload it until it officially returns to the Marketplace.

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Unfortunately we have no info on this, but yes, evidently the Colbert Report's The Word, MTV News and Kayak.com apps have been pulled from the Marketplace. And that's just what we know of  (anyone else see any others?).

Usually this happens because the app is broken, violates something in the Marketplace or perhaps the companies aren't happy with the app and what them redesigned (e.g. what happened with the Engadget app). It's even more odd since Colbert has been updated twice since its release, though it still shows v1.00.

We'll keep an ear out both as to a reason and if they return, but for now if you have 'em, best not to uninstall them.

Edit: Add 'Cartoon TV' to the list of missing apps and which we reviewed here.

(Thanks, SEKKDS, for the heads up)

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Chris Walsh, part of the ChevronWP7 team and responsible for the current ChevronWP7.Updater app, which used Microsoft's own tools to push NoDo to thousands of Windows Phones prematurely, has blogged about why he pulled the app.

On Monday, I released a homebrew utility that attempted to install unreleased updates to Windows Phone devices. The tool successfully passed my own tests involving multiple update scenarios.

I was later informed by Microsoft that there were several problems with my tool and the manner in which it changes phones.

Despite the fact that all outward signs indicate the phone has been updated to build 7390, Microsoft tells me otherwise. Part of the problem, the company says, is that I incorrectly used an undocumented API to deliver updates.

Most problematic, Microsoft tells me that updating in this manner will place devices in a "non-serviceable state". In its blog post describing the situation, Microsoft instead says devices updated in this manner "may" no longer receive updates

Not too much more info than we had previously reported, if anything this just confirms what we already know: users phones may or may not have problems in the future with later updates. We have had reports from users that after using this method, they still received notifications for OEM firmware updates which were then successfully installed--which bodes well for this "Microsoft is just being safe" idea.

Still, while using non-supported hacks to force system updates may not be the best idea, Walsh will be following up his post with details on what users should do next, since "official support" is not an option. It will be interesting to see in six months when thousands of users try to update to 'Mango', to say the least!

Source: My Coding Adventures

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Say it ain't so!

While we don't have official word from Verizon, it appears that the Touch Pro 2's run has unexpectedly come to halt, at least for online sales.

When we (and a few others) go to the Verizon Wireless site, enter our zip and look under Windows Mobile devices, we see the venerable Ozone, Imagio, Omnia II and Fathom, but no Touch Pro 2.

We can't help but think it's been pulled from circulation as opposed to just out-of-stock. This comes not too long after their second MR update and lets be honest, Verizon wasn't the fastest cat out the door when releasing this phone.

On the bright side: gotta clear stock for Windows Phone 7? Plus we're sure stores probably still have one or two hanging around.

RIP Verizon Touch Pro 2, you were unique amongst the herd.

[Thanks, segadc, for the tip!]

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