Microsoft meets with Windows Phone 7 “unlocker” team

By Tom Warren, on 17th Jan 11 5:40 pm with 10 Comments

ChevronWP7 meets Microsoft - Image Credit @longzheng

Microsoft has begun discussions with the ChevronWP7 team today.

Microsoft representatives met with Rafael Rivera and Long Zheng of the ChevronWP7 team on Monday to discuss the tool and Microsoft’s plans to support homebrew applications on Windows Phone 7. Chris Walsh, another member of the team, was unable to attend due to American Visa issues. Long Zheng posted a picture of the meeting on Twitter on Monday (above) where you can see Brandon Watson (back, left) and Larry Lieberman (front, right) of Microsoft’s Windows Phone developer experience team.

ChevronWP7 famously released their Windows Phone 7 “unlock” tool in late Novermber that allowed owners to side load home-brew applications. The tool, named ChevronWP7, used a method to trick the OS into registering itself as a Windows Phone 7 developer device with the application rather than Microsoft directly. Microsoft normally charges $99 a year for the privilege of loading developer applications. ChevronWP7 pulled the tool at Microsoft’s request just two weeks after it was originally released. It was later revealed that Windows Phone 7 devices “phone home” after around two weeks to re-lock unofficial developer devices, rendering the tool useless.

Chevron’s developers – Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng all agreed to remove the tool and engage in discussions around officially facilitating homebrew development on Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has flown the team out to Redmond today to begin the official discussions to allow homebrew application development on Windows Phone 7. The ChevronWP7 confirmed their meeting with Microsoft in a blog posting last week. “In addition to our homebrew focus, we will also be pushing for stronger protection of WP7 developer intellectual property (IP) on the platform as we believe both can co-exist on the platform,” wrote a spokesperson.

WinRumors recently interviewed Greg Sullivan, Windows Phone 7 group product manager at Microsoft, at CES 2011. Sullivan confirmed the ChevronWP7 meet and revealed that the software giant would have more to say about homebrew on Windows Phone 7 in the coming months.

Microsoft says it is planning to disable ChevronWP7 in its first Windows Phone 7 update, due shortly. Microsoft’s Brandon Watson has confirmed that ChevronWP7 will no longer function in future. “Yes, the hole ChervonWP7 team found is closed,” said Watson. Microsoft is expected to issue its first Windows Phone 7 update in February.

Rafael Rivera with WP7 shirt - Image Credit

  • GP007

    As long as the homebrew apps don’t do one of two things, are used to break security on the phone so you can steal/pirate apps/games/media and as long as the homebrew apps aren’t sold for money then MS shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever with allowing it officially.

    And honestly MS is doing the smart thing, homebrew can help WP7 grow even more in the long term. Add to that the need for enterprise to sideload apps, and the issue is the same tech wise, getting apps on the phone locally and not through the marketplace. Homebrew and Business/Enterprise methods match in this sense since you’re doing the same thing in the end.

  • Guest

    anything new in this story?

    • GP007

      We probably won’t know till after this meeting unless there’s NDA’s in the middle.

  • Michael Stanclift

    Stark contrast from Apple, who probably have contracts out on the iPhone Dev and Cydia teams.

    • Tweedle

      You don’t know anything about the iOS jailbreak community, do you?

    • Michael Stanclift

      Please enlighten me as to my lack of understanding.

    • Michael Stanclift

      Please enlighten me as to my lack of understanding.

  • Kundan

    What Microsoft is doing ? :-) quite impressed by ChevronWP7 and its Developers….ChevronWP7 rocks…

  • Tim Acheson

    What better way to connect with the home-brew WP7 app community?

  • Ctrl

    lol surprised there weren’t nda’s on this “meeting”. Great job though team Chevron! I have been smiling proudly for your achievement since finding out about this. Raf bud, you rawk! Keep up the excellent work. Don’t pull a Russinovich on us ;)