Is Microsoft Trying to be More ‘Open’ by Sanctioning Jailbreakers?
Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to push Windows Phone 7 adoption, but its latest move could be considered unusual. The company is working to deploy a legitimate Windows Phone 7 “unlocking” package to allow “side-loading” applications, much in the same way Android phones allow for non-marketplace apps to be installed. Does this have channel implications? The VAR Guy thinks so …
CheveronWP7, the team behind the original Windows Phone 7 jailbreak, has been working closely with Microsoft, according to its blog. The team’s initial goal — akin to the jailbreakers of iOS — is to make “Windows Phone development more accessible.” Apparently, Microsoft has decided if users want to load their phone with unsanctioned apps or third-party add-ons, that’s fine with the company as long as users know what they’re doing (much like Android). With that paradigm in mind, Microsoft has helped and blessed CheveronWP7 — now dubbed “CheveronWP7 Labs” — by collaborating on an official Windows Phone unlocking tool.
The VAR Guy admits the announcement is sparse on the details, but apparently software will be available soon, with a small fee attached.
So where are the channel implications? Our resident blogger believes that, much like Google’s Android, an unlocked Windows Phone 7 could allow individuals and corporations alike to deploy and author their own apps. ISVs can also develop software for Windows Phone 7 without having to worry about approval for posting in Microsoft’s marketplace and can sell it on their own. The VAR Guy has a good hunch that Microsoft has decided to do this to try and compete not with Apple but with Android and jump on that ‘openness’ bandwagon. As Nokia and Microsoft gear up to release new Windows Phone 7 phones and take on the market, Microsoft may believe the best way to bring more people to the platform is making the platform more accessible to techies, hackers and other power users.
Hmm. Our resident blogger thinks the prospect of a more open Windows Phone 7 is interesting, but wonders how well it will play out. Let The VAR Guy know if you think Microsoft is making the right moves.