Microsoft has reached out to the developers of the ChevronWP7 Windows Phone 7 unlock tool to seek its removal.
The tool, released less than a week ago, was the first “unlock” for Windows Phone 7 that allows owners to side-load applications, usually only reserved for official Windows Phone developers. ChevronWP7 unlocked the sideloading of experimental applications that aren’t published to the Marketplace. Applications that use private or native APIs are denied from the Marketplace but ChevronWP7 allowed these to be side loaded without the $99 cost of a developer account.
Chevron’s developers – Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng have all agreed to remove the tool and engage in discussions around officially facilitating homebrew development on Windows Phone 7. According to sources familiar with the situation, the tool had angered many of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Development team who thought it was undermining the company’s development efforts.
“We are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately,” wrote a spokesperson for ChevronWP7 on Wednesday. Brandon Watson, director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, reached out to the ChevronWP7 developers by email this week. With the threat of a possible investigation by Microsoft’s Legal team and the unpopularity of the tool in Redmond, the developers decided to remove the unlock to pursue further discussions on official ways for homebrew applications to be made available.
The ChevronWP7 team recently made available a WP7 custom ringtone manager which they say shows off the “exciting platform potential.” The developers plan to keep the tool available and the source code has been made available to guide homebrew applications.
Update: Brandon Watson has commented to confirm that no threats were made towards the ChevronWP7 team. “We don’t want to encourage jailbreaking, but we also don’t want to miss an opportunity to engage with incredibly talented developers who can help us build a better platform for everyone.”