It was bound to happen sooner or later. Windows Phone 7 has been jailbroken by hackers, allowing crafty users to bypass Windows Marketplace security to ‘sideload’ apps on the phone.
Dubbed ChevronWP7, the jailbreak utility unshackles the handset from Microsoft’s control to install apps that may not be approved by the software maker and only requires a USB cable to set it up.
The creators of tool say that it is simply meant to “allow the sideloading of experimental applications that would otherwise can’t be published to the Marketplace”. However, it also leaves the door open to rampant app piracy, similar to the way it’s done on Apple’s iPhone.
Microsoft will be particularly concerned as its Windows Marketplace is vastly smaller that that of Apple’s App Store. While it may not make a great deal of money from the sales of apps, it can’t afford to have a piracy problem in its hands that could very well discourage developers from developing for the platform, which could make or break the operating system.
Microsoft issued a simple warning to users: “Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.”
Jailbreaking has been made legal in US earlier this year but it is still grey area in Europe and can potentially ‘brick’ your precious smartie if you don’t know what you’re doing. Microsoft also reportedly has built-in security measures to ban any handset remotely, so tread with caution.