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Microsoft halts new apps on Windows Phone Marketplace

Security certificate cock-up knackers downloads

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Microsoft has temporarily halted the publication of new apps for Windows Phones following a problem with its digital security certificates.

The company said a number of titles available from Marketplace - Redmond's software bazaar for its mobile phone operating system - will not install on handsets upgraded to Windows Phone 7.5, the latest version.

For now Windows Phone users will see error messages when downloading a new app, or will be prompted to retry upgrades to existing software. The company has advised against uninstalling software. There's no word when downloads will be turned back on.

Among the more popular titles affected are the New York Times app, chat program WhatsApp and Translator from Bing - all recently updated by their makers.

Mazhar Mohammed, director of program management, blogged that the problem with Microsoft's digital certificates, which are used to verify the authenticity of software, "does not appear" to affect phones sold with Windows Phone 7.5 pre-installed.

"We know what's causing the issue and are already planning to roll out a fix. Until that's finished, we're going to temporarily stop publishing new apps in Marketplace," Mohammed wrote.

He said Microsoft has calculated the problem affects just a "small percentage" of the 100,000-plus apps available on its Marketplace.

The cock-up appears to be a consequence of an upgrade to the Windows Phone Development Center: Microsoft senior director for mobile platform services product management Todd Brix said a new backend had been introduced with extra servers to speed up of the application approval process. ®

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