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Apple and Microsoft may soon stand united in their attempts to ban unlockers, according to comments from a Microsoft spokesperson.  (Source: Zedomax)

An unlock tool for Windows Phone 7 just recent became available.  (Source: ChevronWP7)
Microsoft finds itself in a struggle that mirrors Apple's conflict with unlockers

The admission of a top Windows Phone executive that the company is "following in Apple's line" appears increasingly true.  The newly released Windows Phone 7 OS lacks certain features found in other phones on the market, much like the iPhone long did.  But like the iPhone it sports a slick interface that has convinced some buyers to look past its shortcomings.

And it appears that the pair may soon share a common war against the unlocking community.

Just hours after Rafael Rivera, Long Zheng and Chris Walsh released the first jailbreaking tool for the phone they have come under fire for their work both by developers and Microsoft itself. 

Zheng, et al's program, ChevronWP7, is billed as a "unlocking" tool that allows unauthorized third party apps to run on Windows Phone 7 handsets.  That distinction is a bit confusing as this is commonly referred to as "jailbreaking" on the iPhone, while removing carrier restrictions is known as "unlocking".

Semantic confusion aside, the purpose is relatively straightforward.  Zheng, et al say that the tool will allow the homebrew community the ability to develop for the platform, without paying for licensing or official development tools (typically Microsoft requires developers to pay a $99 annual fee to side load apps with private APIs). However, some developers seem upset with the move as they believe that it opens the door to pirated apps.

Windows Phone 7 developer Michael Crump offers a complaint along those lines.  He recently posted on Twitter, "It sucks that most people will be using the ChevronWP7 for piracy. They could care less about developing apps."

And Microsoft is upset as well, according to MobileTechWorld writer Makran Daou.  Mr. Daou speculates that Microsoft may opt to blacklist unlockers.  He writes, "Re-locking it afterwards won’t help you if you Device ID is blacklisted. It’s up to you to decide if you want to unlock your device this way at the risk of being blocked by MS (if they decide to take this route) but I won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future “fix” this potential security hole."

Mr. Daou accuses the unlockers of giving birth to a "piracy heaven".  And today he claims that Microsoft spokesperson insinuated that action is incoming.

The spokesperson is quoted as stating, "We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable."

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft really resorts to banning Windows Phone users who unlock.  It might not be surprising if it did, though, given that it's resorted to similar tactics with Xbox modders.

Despite the criticism Zheng, et al defend their work.  In a blog post, they write, "We will not help or support efforts to pirate WP7 applications. Our intention is to enable and create WP7 homebrew applications that cannot be submitted to the Marketplace in the first place,'' the site reads.  Unlocking the phone does not affect the ability to purchase, download or run applications through the Marketplace. Furthermore, unlocking doesn't circumvent the inherent piracy protection in applications published to the Marketplace."


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Spin
By foolsgambit11 on 11/26/2010 3:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
This looks more like spin from MobileTechWorld to generate hits than anything else. The statement made by Microsoft is a pretty standard warning about the hazards of using questionable software, without any hint that MS intends to take any action on its part. The only part that is at all questionable is that MS hasn't responded to a question on whether they would pursue blacklisting phones. But it was only a day since the question was asked, and since MS probably didn't have an official position on the subject, it's no surprise that they need time to decide policy/draw up an official statement. That policy could include blacklisting, but at the moment, I haven't seen any indication that MS thinks that's on the table.




RE: Spin
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 3:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
Jailbreaking/rooting etc is not illegal as per recent court ruling. So I would be very surprised to see any kind of all out blacklist here..

What I could see is an emphasis on pirated content. I.e Perhaps MS could compare what are suppose to be paid apps on your system with the account you have associated with your phone.


RE: Spin
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 3:48:35 PM , Rating: 1
Also as the unlockers have noted, they have not provided any way to circumvent the DRM on market apps.. (similar to say Appsync on iOS)

The process in itself does not allow you to pirate anything unless you are willing to crack the markets DRM scheme.


RE: Spin
By Alexvrb on 11/28/2010 11:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
Or someone else can crack the app, upload it, and you install it on your jailb0rk'd phone. Happens all the time. It's like installing a modchip in a console. Sure, some people use it to run homebrew. Many more will do it to download pre-cracked software (such as games available on the Marketplace) just like they do on a PC.

If jailbreaking becomes easy and common, at that point, it places an additional burden on the developers. So while I love the idea of homebrew software on these phones, I hope MS plugs some of these holes.


RE: Spin
By theapparition on 11/28/2010 9:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
Android lets you sideload apps from any source, all out of the box.

And yet very little mention of rampant piracy, virii, crashes, terrorists, etc. All for a platform that is selling more phones than anyone else.

Anyone else see the logic fallacy?


RE: Spin
By Da W on 11/29/2010 9:20:20 AM , Rating: 2
Lots of complaints from developpers saying they can't make much money from android apps. We'll see the consequences in the long term. 6 months is an eternity in the cell phone business. Microsoft has always been about being friendly to developpers first, customers second. So far it has worked.I don't see the point of sideloading apps if all good apps are in the central marketplace.


RE: Spin
By Topweasel on 12/6/2010 2:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
For as much as they say they can't make money its for different reasons and little has to do with Piracy. In fact I would say that the flexibility of the Android OS and its customizable nature reduces the need and occurrences of piracy.

The 3 major reasons are.

1. Most of the quotes are sourced from Febuary or earlier this year, before the market penetration of Android sky rocketed.

2. Google Adds, Most applications of value are offered for free with adds at the top or bottom of the screen, or in the case of Angry Birds, has made over a million dollars on the video adds in the latest update (this can be more profitable long run then a 1 time payment). No one is going to pay for an app that they can get for free or at least an alternative for free.

3. Return option. It benefits users but not a software studio. The fact that someone bought it for the trial period means you have found a service that someone has found to be worth value. Its up to the developers to make sure that they actually meet the expected value. Too often are software packages (desktop or cellphone) sold unfinished or hard to use interfaces or missing expected functionality. Now people have the option to wait till it supplies what they need before purchasing it.


RE: Spin
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 4:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jailbreaking/rooting etc is not illegal as per recent court ruling.


That wasn't a court rulling; it is just a temporary change in the copyright law, just as it was OK a few years ago to get ROMs of video games.

That may or may not stick the next time TLOC meets for this.


RE: Spin
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 4:22:11 PM , Rating: 1
Its not actually temporary, it was added to a list of exemptions for the law. Just like most laws, they can be changed..

While the Library of Congress has the authority to go over these exemptions every three years, its more or less for adding exceptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material, not to remove those just recently deemed as an exemption.


RE: Spin
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 4:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Which is again, not a court hearing or setting of precedence. It isn't "law" whatsoever yet.

If you want real progress to be made, a law should be enacted to force losers like Att to unlock devices. Currently they will not unlock any iphone, ever.


RE: Spin
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 4:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
I should not have said a court ruling.

That being said, these are DMCA exemptions in which the DMCA is an part of United States Copyright Law.. So it very much so is law.. Jailbreaking is legally exempt for the DMCA..


RE: Spin
By foolsgambit11 on 11/27/2010 12:19:03 AM , Rating: 4
Jailbreaking/rooting/etc. isn't illegal, I agree (we'll skip over the why, that's been covered). But that doesn't necessarily mean Microsoft has to continue to support a jailbroken phone, including allowing it on their marketplace. So MS could potentially blacklist phones without running foul of government regulations. I add caveats like 'necessarily' and 'potentially' because I freely admit I'm no expert in these matters. But I know Apple has claimed jailbreaking voids their warranty.

Now, if they later pushed a patch that self-installed without user approval and bricked the phone, there could be legal ramifications for that, but simply denying continued access to Microsoft services would most likely be within their rights.


RE: Spin
By Lerianis on 11/27/2010 11:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I don't see where they would have an argument to NOT support a jailbroken phone if the people who made the jailbreak didn't circumvent the DRM on the phone.

Since that appears to be the case? Microsoft would be asking for a PECKLOAD of legal trouble if they start blacklisting phones just because they are jailbroken, under the "First Sale" doctrine.

Now, blacklisting phones that are using software that ARE being used to circumvent the DRM? That is okay in my opinion.


RE: Spin
By foolsgambit11 on 11/27/2010 8:50:12 PM , Rating: 3
The first sale doctrine only protects your right to sell your license to the software. It doesn't place any obligations on Microsoft, and it says nothing about fair use of the product (save regarding its sale, of course). So I'll assume you meant 'fair use'.

I disagree this would violate fair use. As analogy, there is nothing inherently illegal in me opening up some piece of consumer electronics that I've purchased, but doing so can void the warranty. The sale of the product, as is, confers certain usage rights to the buyer, that is certain. But continued service by the seller can be contingent upon agreement to use a product only in certain ways. Once you've modified your phone in a way not authorized by Microsoft, if they decide to treat that phone like a non-WP7 phone (no marketplace access, no updates, which is what I understand them to mean by blacklisting), that would be within their rights.

But the real question is whether MS would blacklist or not. Is it in their best interest, in the long run? Locking in users can be profitable, but considering their position in the market, can they afford any bad publicity about WP7? My guess is, not right now. But in a year or two, if WP7 becomes firmly established in the marketplace, we may see MS start to crack down. Whether blacklisting will be the tool they choose to use, only time will tell.


RE: Spin
By farquaid on 11/27/2010 9:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think you can with such certainty say its within their rights.
Is downloading apps from the marketplace part of the product you bought? Its a phone and the ability to access the market place?

I follow the logic in your reasoning but that doesnt mean the law is interpreted that way.


RE: Spin
By fic2 on 11/29/2010 11:10:46 AM , Rating: 2
If MS locks jail-broken phones out of their apps market place the only way these people will be able to get new apps is to pirate them. Seems like a self fulfilling prophecy to me.


RE: Spin
By Reclaimer77 on 11/26/2010 7:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I mean, what business wouldn't "consider" it? Wake me up when they DO it. That would actually be news.

In other news, I "considered" killing my cats today.


RE: Spin
By MCKENZIE1130 on 11/29/2010 8:04:38 PM , Rating: 1
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nomenclature
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 3:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Its not called jailbreaking because its not a unix based system ;)

Confusing yes, but it does make sense.




RE: nomenclature
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 4:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? If it is unix it is rooting, since you want root access. Technically you do that on ios as well, but they call it jailbreaking probably because you are freed from "Steve's unicorn paradise", aka jail.


RE: nomenclature
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 4:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
The term existed long before the iPhone was a glimmer in Steve Jobs's eye..
quote:
A jailbreak is the act or tool used to perform the act of breaking out of a chroot or jail in UNIX-like operating systems.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privilege_escalation


RE: nomenclature
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 5:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm familiar with the whole chroot jail concept. But yeah, it's still again, weird. Like how a PC = Windows with stupid apple


RE: nomenclature
By Solandri on 11/27/2010 2:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
I actually wish the "jailbreaking" term would just go away, since being "in jail" implies that you're supposed to be there in the first place, and breaking out of jail is generally regarded as a morally wrong thing. The "jail" of locked phones isn't some morally superior state - it's a completely arbitrary decision imposed by some phone makers or service providers. In the free market, you have just as much right to jailbreak a phone as they have right to lock it up in the first place. Neither is more authoritative than the other, all that matters is whether customers will support/tolerate either one.

"rooting" is a much better term for it IMHO, since all it implies is is a privilege elevation. It casts no prejudices as to whether or not you should have that privilege.


RE: nomenclature
By twhittet on 11/27/2010 2:11:27 PM , Rating: 5
I prefer "jailbreaking" - because it reminds people they are voluntarily going to "jail" when they buy an Apple product. Told what, when, how, and how much - sounds a lot like jail to me.


RE: nomenclature
By melgross on 11/28/2010 8:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
"PC" was copyrighted by IBM to mean computers using their OS. Lower case"pc" still means personal computer.


RE: nomenclature
By farquaid on 11/27/2010 10:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Its not called jailbreaking because its not a unix based system ;) Confusing yes, but it does make sense.


There are a lot of terms that has an original meaning and then some people who dont have a clue use it wrong and it becomes the common meaning of the term. Is this annoying? Sure is. Is there anything to do about it? Unless you want to spend every waking hour searching for missuse of the term and correcting it, the anser is no.


A Word from the Grammar Police
By Tuor on 11/26/2010 2:19:47 PM , Rating: 1
Just as a FYI: it's "et al" or "et al." and not "et. al".




RE: A Word from the Grammar Police
By The Insolent One on 11/26/2010 4:49:38 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, now I can die complete.


RE: A Word from the Grammar Police
By Tuor on 11/26/2010 5:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
Complete, yes. But will you be happy? As a member of the Grammar Police, I want people to be happy. Doesn't reading "et al" instead of "et. al" make you happy? It makes me happy. Let's all be happy together.

In love and peace (and correct grammar),

Tuor


RE: A Word from the Grammar Police
By BruceLeet on 11/26/2010 4:51:26 PM , Rating: 5
I just et al the chicken stir-fry & rice I made for supper, and I also brewed that elusive 'perfect' pot of coffee.

Gotta go get a new cup before it goes too dark.


By SilthDraeth on 11/28/2010 2:01:37 AM , Rating: 2
Give the man a 6.


Bwahaha, talk about killing an almost DoA platform...
By T2k on 11/28/2010 7:18:25 PM , Rating: 1
...in a true, Jobsian-copycat Microshi!t-manner!

God, it's INCREDIBLE how utterly CLUELESS this PoS Microsh!t is... :D

So far Windows Phone 7 is DEAD. Your only hope it gains at least WebOS-like traction by next year, when you will try to bring out the next generation which, by then, will be WAAAAY behind Android, in a true, once again, Apple-like manner (without generating Jobsian revenue, of course.)

It's HILARIOUS, seriously, PRICELESS how fucked up M$ became under this utterly stupid, incompetent bald f@ck beancounter called Ballmer. :D :D :D




By espaghetti on 11/30/2010 1:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
I think Ballmer may have actually came through your computer and slapped you................. or you work for Google.


Possible Short Run Benefit?
By limitedaccess on 11/26/2010 4:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you consider that Microsoft is relatively late to the current smart phone market and likely lags behind Apple and Google considerably in software support, might tacit support for "unlocking" not help drive adoption rates for the hardware platform.

This isn't really outrageous either, since I believe Microsoft has hinted they prefer Windows and Office to be pirated then people adopting free alternatives.




Another terrible article
By CSMR on 11/27/2010 6:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
Title: "Microsoft Reportedly Considering Blacklisting Windows Phone Unlockers
Jason Mick (Blog)"

Evidence: "We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable."

There is no indication of any action by Microsoft involved.




WindowsPhoneHeaven.com
By OneWayOut on 11/28/2010 4:05:11 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone Heaven was supposed to be a site specifically for unlocked and jailbroken WP7 devices, but I see it has still not yet been developed, could this have something to do with the possibility of having devices blacklisted?




The last thing we need...
By morphologia on 11/29/2010 3:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
...is for Microsoft to be more like Apple.

But anyway...the whole piracy complaint is crap. They're basically complaining that hobbyist programmers are ruining what would otherwise be a lucrative cash cow they could milk at the expense of those too lazy to look beyond their home page for apps. Seriously...if thousands of people are creating apps for free simply because they enjoy it, does it make any sense to pay elsewhere for them? I'm sure that if there's some app you can't get anywhere else, those interested would pay for it...that doesn't mean they should be limited to a narrow channel of providers that have to be approved by the company.




not that it matters
By zmatt on 11/27/2010 12:49:44 AM , Rating: 1
I had already dropped windows mobile as a choice for my mobile platform of choice when we started getting info on it some time ago and discovered it was an iOS clone. I got Android specifically because it was the opposite of iOS. I doubt M$ can do a better job of being Apple than Apple, so it will be an inferior clone of iOS. I'll stick with Android thanks.




The better question...
By Icopoli on 11/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 4:55:32 PM , Rating: 4
Its open source, but its not open.. You still have to root your system, and let me say a tool like this is a hell of a lot easier than rooting Android on Froyo =P..

Believe it or not, its harder to root your phone on many Android devices than any other system if you are not an expert user. (iphone is 1 click, WebOS allows for it, and this WM tool seems fairly simple).


RE: The better question...
By Alexstarfire on 11/26/2010 7:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
That's true. I didn't realize this until trying to do some stuff on my friend's MyTouch 3G. My Captivate is just a one click program and actually uses the built-in recovery mode to root the phone. The MyTouch 3G is just a market app if you have 1.6 on it. Anything higher than that and it's a pretty big pain. Of course the MyTouch has 3 different versions so that was part of what made it so hard.


RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 8:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
2.1 was fine on my Vibrant, but 2.2 I could not figure out a way to root the stock ROM. I too had to boot into recovery, but I actually had to flash a pre rooted ROM.. Froyo is not so nice apparently =X


RE: The better question...
By JonnyBlaze on 11/26/2010 9:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
You must not have heard of UniversalAndroot.

One click root for A LOT of phones.


RE: The better question...
By mcnabney on 11/26/2010 4:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
This This This

The mere fact that the consumer is permitted (or even encouraged) to side-load their own apps makes Android infinitely better than iOS and Phone 7.

But I guess idiots have always wanted to be lead by the nose. Technology just makes it easier.


RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 5:06:52 PM , Rating: 3
This is something I always hear coming from Android users.., but if you are not running in DEV mode, Android is a closed system OOB..

The fact remains you can't run non market apps outside of dev mode or rooting your phone (which Google does not 'allow' you to do, in fact they've closed holes and made it harder to root on every release)

So to 99% of users, Android is just as closed as Windows Phone..

I was much more free to do as I pleased with WebOS than my current Android device..


RE: The better question...
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 5:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact remains you can't run non market apps outside of dev mode or rooting your phone (which Google does not 'allow' you to do, in fact they've closed holes and made it harder to root on every release)


That's lame, but that I feel is a restriction of the carriers more than anything.

I'd get a Nokia N900 or its soon to be released (hopefully) successor. Then again, it should be free and open since it is an unlocked device, and easy to "root" since Nokia tells you how anyway.


RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 5:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
I should clarify that I meant out of box ;) You can't just go download an app off the net and install it on your phone with ease on a new phone..

But there are apps and processes to do it. My point is really a very large portion of Android users will never know that they can even make use of this, so the reality is that Android is not that far off from closed systems for the masses.

Now perhaps you or I would have no problem and could very well make our phone purchases on the ability to install third party apps as we know what we are doing, but I don't feel that the masses fall into this category.

I.e, Android is fairly similar in terms of how locked down you are compared to other platforms.


RE: The better question...
By mcnabney on 11/26/2010 10:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you can.

My Droid is unmodified and I have plenty of Apps that I have installed directly from websites/memory cards. All you have to do is change one setting to allow 3rd party apps (anything not through the Marketplace).


RE: The better question...
By Jason H on 11/26/2010 7:05:16 PM , Rating: 3
Um... Settings > Applications > Allow installation of non-Market applications

(non-rooted Nexus One)


RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 7:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
Ok now what?

You would either need a file manager that allows you to install apps, or you would have to download an app to install apks with the sdk.

Either way at the very least
1)turn off setting
2)find apks if you can
3)put on SD card
4)install with either app or file manager

As I said, its hardly an open system OOB for the majority of users.

I'm sure as a power user you have no problem (nor do I), but power users (i.e a fraction of the market) don't sell phones now do they.. As such I don't see why any non power user should be making their platform decision on what is 'open' as unless you know what you are doing, it really is not..


RE: The better question...
By omnicronx on 11/26/2010 8:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
I will say it has gotten a bit easier, and some manufacturers even package a file manager, but its not exactly emphasized in the OS in any way for mainstream users..


RE: The better question...
By zmatt on 11/27/2010 12:46:37 AM , Rating: 2
Not directly supporting the installation of non-marketplace apps and out right trying to stop it is two different things. I see it as a liability ting. Google is saying, go ahead but we can't be held liable for any random program you get off sourceforge, so you are on your own. Marketplace apps are vetted so they can allow them and not have to worry about a bad app that bricks phones and getting the blame for it. They don't have the same control over non marketplace things.

Besides, most non-marketplace apps that we want are for specific tasks and functions that non-power users really don't want or need. It's kind of a Geek thing. I mean, we are still dealing with Linux here.


RE: The better question...
By melgross on 11/28/2010 8:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
They don't really vet marketplace apps.


RE: The better question...
By theapparition on 11/28/2010 9:33:46 PM , Rating: 1
So not true. With that one checkmark clicked off, you can even install apk's directly from gmail.

In other words, anyone can email you a file, and you can install right away. Don't need Astro or another file manager. In fact, 2.2 allows sharing apps quite easily (non-paid). Just go into Applications, long press and pick share. Email it to a friend.

Apple's and MS's reasons for restrictions are a red-herring.


RE: The better question...
By sprockkets on 11/26/2010 8:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
The OP already mentioned developer phones. In any case, it isn't an unlocked phone from a carrier.


RE: The better question...
By JonnyBlaze on 11/26/2010 9:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Any android phone can install apps with one click of a box in settings. Big deal you might have to download a file manager from the market.

Rom manager is in the market. You think MS or Apple has apps in the market to let you change your OS.


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