Google & Microsoft join Apple adopting a smartphone ‘kill switch’

Following Apple [AAPL], Google [GOOG] & Microsoft [MSFT] will add “kill switches” to their smartphones. This measure that has apparently led to a sharp drop in thefts of iPhones.

“This is very significant and validates everything we have been trying to do legislatively in Sacramento this past year,” said State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who has introduced a bill requiring every smartphone maker to have a kill switch.

The announcement was made Thursday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who head a Secure Our Smartphones Initiative.

A kill switch lets an owner remotely deactivate a stolen smartphone, rendering it useless until it is reactivated by its owner.

The move means that next year, the new versions of operating systems used by 97 percent of smartphones in the U.S. will have the anti-theft technology. About 3.1 million smartphone-related thefts were reported last year in the U.S., double the number in 2012.