Windows Phone 7 Jailbreak Tool to be Disabled

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is set to plug a coding loophole that allows users of the new Windows Phone 7 system to run unauthorized software on it, an action known as jailbreaking. But it's agreed to meet the developers of the tool that took advantage of that loophole.

The jailbreaking tool in question, called Chevron, helps users get around one of the key restrictions Microsoft put on the phones: that it's only possible to run applications that have been approved by, and downloaded from, Microsoft's own "Marketplace" store.

Chevron to be Disabled in Upcoming Release

Chevron worked by unlocking a special feature that was only meant to be available to application developers: the feature lifts the restrictions to allow unfinished applications to be tested on a working phone.

The people behind Chevron -- Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng -- have now explicitly stated that Microsoft will remove the loophole in its next update for the phone system, due in the next few months.

The Chevron developers will be visiting Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington next week to share "[their] perspective on the homebrew potentials of Windows Phone 7 and some of the wider community feedback around the platform." They'll also be pushing for stronger protection of the Windows Phone 7 intellectual property rights on the platform. (Source:

"Homebrew" usually refers to people who have developed their own software. The term is commonly used in the video game industry, where amateur developers are often trying to get their home-made titles to run on modern consoles.

Loopholes Highly Sought After

The meeting with the Chevron crew may be a smart move on Microsoft's part, as it could help avoid the problem other system developers, particularly Apple, get into when they start blocking jailbreaking tools. It usually descends into a cat-and-mouse game with developers blocking a loophole by issuing a new update, and "enthusiasts" finding a new loophole in the updated software. (Source:

In theory, jailbreaking a phone leaves it in a state no different than a Windows computer, where users are free to run whatever software they like. However, Microsoft appears keen to maintain control over what Windows Phone 7 users run on their handsets, though whether that's for security, quality or economic reasons is open to debate.

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