To be honest, I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but it obviously happened. There was a change in the way that consumers buy things. Specifically, there’s a tricky situation where you buy something, and someone somewhere doesn’t really think you own it. Sure, you bought it, and you bought everything that came with it (software, hardware, accessories that came in the box), but someone somewhere decided that after you buy it, you can’t do much with it. To be even more precise here, we’re talking about the developers out there who want full access to their phone. Of course, companies like Sony, and in the mobile phone market especially Apple, don’t want you to be able to have access to your phone after you buy it.
Microsoft had the same mentality when they first launched their brand new mobile operating system, better known as Windows Phone 7, but recently the company’s position has changed drastically. That development team is known as ChevronWP7, and it hasn’t been a secret that they’ve been not necessarily a thorn in Microsoft’s side since the release of Windows Phone 7, but more like a gentle shove in the right direction. A constant, gentle shove in the right direction. And while it’s been apparent that Microsoft and the team at ChevronWP7 have been getting friendlier as time went by, I think news that Microsoft has actually come over to the side of the developers is huge.
The developers at ChevronWP7 have announced that they will be working with Microsoft to allow folks to unlock their devices, no matter the manufacturer, for a small fee. That’s right – the service isn’t going to be free, but at least it exists. For those who have an iPhone, and have tried to jailbreak it, then you know that Apple doesn’t take too kindly to that kind of action. However, the iPhone Dev Team has made it possible, if not down-right easy in most instances, for pretty much anyone to jailbreak their iPhone. This service is free, but it’s not an action that Apple “allows.”
So for Microsoft to come forward and actually work with the main development team behind jailbreaking their devices is a big step, and hopefully not just for Microsoft. Simply put, it’s a messy situation for anyone who buys a device and thinks they’re allowed to do anything they want to it. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s about as black and white as it exists: you bought it, it’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it. For the company that took the time to create that device, it’s not so much. After all, you can void your warranty by jailbreaking your device, or unlocking it.
As anyone knows, messing around with your device, especially on the software side of things can permanently mess it up. So much so, in fact, that you have to get a new phone – and I think if you screw up your phone trying to mess with the software (or hardware side of things), then there’s no reason for the company to give you a new one. After all, it isn’t the company’s fault that the phone broke. However, simply jailbreaking or unlocking the device, especially if it still works after the fact, shouldn’t be a reason that the warranty gets voided.
But, this is a topic that’s going to be going on for quite some time, there’s no doubt about that. Even if Google and its Android platform are open to developers, and Microsoft is opening its doors to the concept of jailbreaking its devices, there’s still plenty of hurdles in the way before the “open” idea gets picked up and used more often than not. But, perhaps these are steps that will start the ball rolling. Or, maybe it’s just good steps for those companies, and those companies only.
Where do you stand on this topic? Are you someone who believes they should be able to do whatever they want with their device after they buy it? Or are the companies in the right here? Let me know what you think in the comments below.