Microsoft to quash homebrew on Windows Phone? Not so fast

Microsoft to quash homebrew on Windows Phone? Not so fast

Summary: Reports that Microsoft is set to kibosh the distribution of more tokens allowing homebrewers to create Windows Phone apps are not true.


There have been a couple of stories making the rounds over the holiday weekend claiming that Microsoft is set to cut off the air supply of Windows Phone homebrewers by stopping the distribution of the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool.

Sounds dire. Except for one little detail. It seemingly isn't true.

The ChevronWP7 team -- Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng -- began distributing their tool and tokens for unlocking Windows Phones in early November 2011. The team developed the tool with Microsoft's blessing and help.

Over this past weekend, Rivera said (via Twitter) that the team had distributed 10,000 tokens, which was the initial limit agreed upon by Microsoft and the group.

As noted in the January 1 tweet above, the team is discussing among themselves whether to approach Microsoft for more tokens at this point. The ChevronWP7 team has not yet approached Microsoft about obtaining more tokens at this point, Rivera told me today. So there's been no kiboshing or threat of kiboshing -- quiet or otherwise.

Rivera attempted to clarify the situation in a January 2 post on his site.

The WP unlocking tool, which comes in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, costs $9 per Windows Phone unlock. Homebrew app developers who want to publish their apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace still need to register for a Microsoft App Hub account. (If you don't want to publish your app to the marketplace, you don't need to pay the $99 for a developer account.)

Topics: Windows, CXO, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, IT Employment


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Despicable

    What are we discussing here?

    A restrictive ecosystem - M$ phone?
    Priviledged insiders - RR, LZ, et al?
    A complicit 'journalist'?

    How I despise such behaviour.
  • Resistance is ... necessary

    M$'$ strategy is clear to me: they intend to follow Apple in restricting their ecosystems.<br>Instead of being able to install whatever application you want from whoever develops it (even if it is your own garbage)... M$ want a 30% cut on apps. they have approved and you the customer have no other choice.

    ZDNET bloggers will try to persuade you that a modern smartphone or a tablet is not a PC ... but it is a computer (just as a PC was always a computer) and it is for your personal use ... and if you listen to them you will be brainwashed into switching from a PC of the 1990/2000's - where you could do what you wanted - into a so-called 'walled garden'.

    Rebel .. or lose your freedom.<br>New Year 2012.
    • They're attempting to 'wall off' 1.5 percent of the smartphone marketshare

      @johnfenjackson@... not exactly a terrifying prospect.

      How many Android apps are you distributing compared to Windows and iPhone apps?
    • RE: Microsoft to quash homebrew on Windows Phone? Not so fast

      Freedom, are you serious.
      My son let me remind you that there is not true freedom in our digital age! With andriod's "freedom" comes carrier IQ (i own an android), further to this let me remind you that when you go for "full freedom" YOU LOSE CONTROL, this is happening with android, why do you think android is the ONLY modern OS which has male ware! why! well ,my dear ohnfenjackson its because there is no way of moderating the market! I mean look at the market! the first top free apps on the entertainment apps are s*x apps now quite frankly there should be a restrict setting for viewing the or something, i dont know about you but i find that insulting, i live in Kuwait were this is both illegal and religiously not allowed and even though my market IS set to Kuwait i still see these results.
  • Not so fast ...

    ... how about some legislation to prevent lock-in? Instead of SOPA.

    Here's my deal for corporations: unlock everything, guarantee my privacy and you can monitor me for legality and terrorism and put up a few ads. If not then you can ...
  • RE: Microsoft to quash homebrew on Windows Phone? Not so fast

    The better not block these apps, otherwise how will people upgrade these phones to the latest Android version? Microsoft would like nothing better than to sell a few million Lumia phones and have the owners root them. If the end user roots the phone Microsoft no longer has to support it, but it counts as a sale.