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back to article Microsoft gives Phone 7 Mango jailbreak its blessing

Microsoft has shifted its stance on the jailbreaking of its Phone 7 operating system, and seems to be embracing – rather than trying to crush – such developments. Redmond has had an ongoing feud with the developers at ChevronWP7 ever since the group put out a jailbreak for Phone 7 a year ago, allowing users to run applications …

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Black Helicopters

Like DOS and early Windows versions

Microsoft will soften their stance to court developers, since it is now pretty well recognized that without the apps, you won't succeed. (No guarantee that having the apps ensures success, but not having them pretty well ensures failure.)

Once they have gained enough attention from developers, how might they change their position?

Reminds me of how Microsoft seemed unconcerned with piracy of DOS and of early Windows and Office versions, which allowed them to gain commanding market share, which allowed them to play monopoly games with things like browsers and media players.

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Anonymous Coward

the difference is....

once you've bought the device, you've already paid the licence for the software.

If people attempted to port/install WP7 on non WP7 phones, MS' stance might be a bit different...

Piracy of Apps would be useless to people who hadn't already stumped up *some* cash to MS.

A way of changing their position would be to specify new phones to have the secure boot feature much discussed in PCs...

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Windows

@Benzaholic

"Once they have gained enough attention from developers, how might they change their position?"

I share your concerns in that sense that we should never forget that in the end Microsoft is a corporation which does what a company usually does: making money. However, I also think its important not to endlessly continue to hold their reputation against them. I'm not saying we shouldn't keep it in mind, but we also shouldn't completely focus on it either.

And I think something important has changed when you look at the past. Back then MS philosophy seems to have been "here's our product, take it for what it is!" and as soon as someone got too close they got on the offensive part, at least it sure appeared that way.

Take projects such as Samba; trying to get Linux "Windows network compatible" (to put it /very/ easy). It became apparent from multiple sources that Microsoft was at the very least worried about the project development. Yet nowadays they even started to contribute to the project itself by donating source code (so I've read anyway).

What to think about Mono? .NET is a very important asset for Microsoft, its totally intermingled with their operating systems as well as their Office environment. .NET is to Microsoft what Java was to Sun (at least that's how I look at it). Now some "open source hippies" try to "steal" the glory by trying to "push" .NET onto environments which it was never intended to ? Heck; it even "targets" Windows itself.

What does MS do? Promises not to take it out on Mono through patent issues (granted; such promises can be changed on a whim). Heck, in several ways they even seem to encourage its development. The reason why I think this to be mention worthy is the origin of Mono. While it is an open source project it wasn't merely started by a group of .NET fans who wanted more out of it. Instead, it was heavily backed up by several companies. And companies, as we all should know, /always/ have their own agenda in the end: Making more money.

Yet MS didn't go out on the offense. Even though they probably could have; take a look at how they use Linux to "attack" Android with their patent claims.

SO summing up I think you're right that we shouldn't forget about the past. But we also shouldn't ignore the changes within Microsoft either.

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.NET and WP7 both have a lot in common

For starters, they're both the underdogs in terms of their respective markets, so it's not surprising Microsoft is supporting developer friendly initiatives. It's doing so entirely out of desperation. If they had the upper hand, there's no way on Earth they'd have taken the same approach. Microsoft hasn't exactly changed, but they're not stupid either when they know they're on a hiding to nothing.

Unfortunately we've no idea if Microsoft has any intention of changing this approach in the future as .NET is still nowhere near as popular as other development platforms and it therefore remains the underdog after all these years.

And to be quite honest, the signs aren't terribly good that WP7 will fair any better, even with the availability of the new but lacklustre Nokia devices.

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Pirate

Seemed unconcerned?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_letter_to_hobbyists

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WTF?

eh?

"Last December, Microsoft blocked unlocked handsets from receiving updates, but said it wouldn't brick them".

So they only brick vanilla phones with their updates then? Sounds like a very good reason to jailbreak...

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Unhappy

Watch this space ...

ChevronWP7 ... I know nothing of who they are .... but in two or three years time they will be under the Redmond umbrella.

See it .... Like it ... Buy it ... Bury it ...

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Anonymous Coward

Damn them, damn them to hell

How dare they give support to jailbroken phones and encourage more developers and hobbyist to use their platform. It's clearly a scheme to improve the user experience and make them more popular - a typical plot of a corporation.

It's almost like they're in the business of trying to sell phones or something, the bastards!

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Silver badge

Any attention is good attention

When you're targeting 3rd place in a two horse race, then any attention is good attention.

Jailbreakers will still be paying the MS tax so there's no hard feelings.

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Meh

Sounds kinda shady to me

Obviously Microsoft could easily release a jailbreak patch for anyone who wanted it if they chose to. And Chevron apparently managed previously without MS help, so why team up? It seems to me th only purpose of all this is to give MS plausible deniability. Now they can say "Screwed up your phone? Sorry chum, you installed a third-party patch, not our problem".

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........ and? (Old Hanlde)

.... is that a bad thing?

If you want full support/warranty etc then don't mess with your product. No diferent to those little holographic stickers on your DVD player. So whats the problem?

I personaly think its a great idea of MS. Well done.

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Headmaster

Not sure that that is quite the case.

"Redmond has had an ongoing feud with the developers at ChevronWP7 ever since the group put out a jailbreak for Phone 7 a year ago, allowing users to run applications …"

AFAIK Redmond's relationship to ChevronWP7 has been reasonably constructive for quite some time. They released a hack (8 - 10 months ago perhaps?) that meant WP7-phone owners could download and install a pre-release version of MS' "NoDo" update and Redmond warned (I believe it was language files issues although I am not sure) that it might result in the phone being bricked when the "real" update arrive OTA. Chevron's people had some meetings with MS engineers, went away and built a fix for those who had installed unofficially and provided it OTA with Redmond's blessing. I am not saying that they invite each other to family reunions but the expression "ongoing feud" seems a little too creative.

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Thats how IIRC it as well Arctic.

Sounds to me like a little sensationalism going on here...

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Anonymous Coward

Errr

MS gear with security vulnerabilities that they're turning a blind eye to?

Where have I heard that before....?

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Stop

Didn't really have a choice.

With 0% marketshare and no consumer interest, Windows Phone 7 was dead. This brought it back to life for 10 minutes whilst peopel searched for cheap unwanted Windows Phone 7 handsets on ebay (before thinking better of it).

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Silver badge

I think they've realised something...

They were scaring off people, meaning power users (people who like to tinker with absolutely everything) and hobbyist developers to Android.

Say whatever you like about MS but they've always realised that you have to keep the early adopters and developers sweet. Even under the current chair-throwing beancounters this culture has managed to survive.

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Anonymous Coward

How is this not a Good Thing?

WP7 is essentially the same kind of walled garden as the iOS (Zune instead of Itunes, no filesystem access, etc etc).

An officially blessed jailbreak garners sympathy, and may lure more developers (as in: Developers! Developers! Developers!)

As an Android user, I think this is a good thing. More competition, better devices for everybody.

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M$ quit bitching ...

From the early days of the company bill has had to vigorously defend his company over all sorts of threats, only when microsoft decided to be more helpfull with it's development community did it really begin to live up to it's name as people see it today.

All this crap about monopolising markets or swaying people / developers for some hidden agenda is rubbish.

The only place Microsoft ever used it's real legal muscle was in law suits where it was under attack. If you make a browser or a media player or an OS and it's not as powerful or feature rich people won't use it ... if it is, the power of the internet means it will be found and used.

Why do people hate Microsoft so much? ... I built a career on their technology and have met a lot of developers in linux / open source professional areas that just can't deliver the sort of stuff i'm doing daily without extensive time and effort.

What's wrong with making life easier for the average consumer ... and defending the right to do that? I don't think much of Steve Ballmer (bit too out there for me) but as a company ... what exactly did they do that any other company their size hasn't done??? ... and really think about that because i doubt u'll find something.

In fact bill saved apple at one point (it's all in a recent documentary about steve jobs life) ... what other company says (and can back it up) that they deliberatly saved their competion from going under?

Stop bitching about them trying to do something right ... embrace them!!!

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Coat

What did they do as a company?

From your grammar and syntax, you're probably too young to remember, but at one point you would get a PC with IBM OS/2 installed, and still have to pay the MS DOS/Windows license as well. If as a vendor you wanted discount OEM pricing for MS product to sell with your PC's, you had to pay the fees to MS for every PC you sold, regardless of whether it shipped with an MS OS or not. That problem persists to the current day. That ended up ending OS/2's chances on the desktop, and combined with Apples gigantic missteps by not opening up and getting aggressive, ended up putting MS in a pure monopoly OS position by 1996/1997.

But nothing is cut and dry, and MS isn't always evil either... Much of what happened in the 80's and 90's was other companies just being stupid, and Gates just being the opportunistic and aggressive businessman that he is. A good example that I lived through (and helped move along in my earlier IT days) is how Microsoft Office achieved dominance within months of the Wordperfect and Lotus Windows releases. Why? Corporations had been waiting, and waiting and waiting for Windows GUI versions. The first releases were abysmal, and MS Office worked and came as a cheaper bundled seamless product which appealed to the bean counters. Less than a year later, Wordperfect and Lotus were also rans... Why were the Wordperfect and Lotus releases out much later than the MS ones you might ask? They both believed (and stated) that power users that used their products would stick to DOS, and that Windows was a fad... :) Oooops. I had experience with Wordperfect later, and it still having massive problems into version 6, that required a 22 page list of known workarounds... It disappeared from that office not too much longer after that. Now we have MS Office almost exclusively in the world... *sigh* (seemed like a good idea at the time...)

I don't hate MS, but their products are just one tool in my toolbox. If you are locked onto them exclusively, you could be in for a heck of a shock if they suddenly get de-throned (like during the current market transition going on currently) and you don't have a backup plan.

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Terminator

Yeah...still not buying one.

It's the same as back in the Dark Ages, MS surrounds and consumes it's opponents. I'd rather have a bit more control over my phone than WP7 will ever provide.

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Pint

Congrats to MS for this.

Well, the hobbyist community (like XDA) is what made the previous WinMobe "good" (for it's era). So maybe this will result in an improved Winmobe this time as well?

I do congratulate MS on their smart move on this one. Embracing this community and making it easier to tweak/hack on the software is a much better solution than forcing that community to crack your safeguards instead. Necessity is the mother of invention and if these guys are free to produce tweaks, then they won't bother to crack it, no need. (ala remember why DVDJon cracked DVD encryption?) MS will also get feedback for needed improvements if it is operating with the community, providing assistance, and communicating back and forth.

Doesn't change my opinion of the current WinMobe. It isn't my cuppa tea...

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