Microsoft just announced it will ban adult content from the Windows Phone Marketplace coming this month. Their policy disallows “images that are sexually suggestive or provocative”.
Apple has the same stance towards adult contents with this famous email from Steve Jobs: “We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy [an] Android phone.”
This puritan policy is a bit dangerous from a business perspective. VHS, French minitel, the Internet and other technologies got traction at first because adult contents were available.
A more pragmatic approach would have been to implement a parental control tool and create a red district within the application market place. Mobile operators are doing this for a long time in accordance with their local regulations.
The last issue there is what moral authority has Apple or Microsoft to decide what can be offered to the end user? As their application market places are monopolistic stores as you can’t side load apps it poses a real freedom issue. Developpers were already feeling this, as the certification rules aren’t really clear. Now end users will start to wonder how these Inquisition Departments are choosing what they can use.