There has recently been much anxiety in the Windows Mobile ROM cooking world over at XDA-Developers after the web site started receiving take down notices from some-one purporting to be from Microsoft. The practice of making updated firmware for older devices have always been borderline illegal, and the similar practice on the desktop (e.g placing a pirated copy of Windows Vista on a XP machine) would never have been tolerated.
It later turned out the take down notices were rather dubious in origin, and did not really conform to the format used by Microsoft. Tweakers.net, a Dutch web site, decided to take the bull by the horns and ask Microsoft and HTC directly what they thought of the situation.
Maarten Sonneveld, from Microsoft Netherlands was very clear. "What is happening there, adjusting ROMs is illegal. They go to get the intellectual property of others." He however, Pilate-like, absolved Microsoft from any responsibility to address the crime. "This intellectual property is not with us. The ROMs are owned by manufacturers or providers, if the branded versions. We supply only the OS."
That leaves the ball in HTC’s court. HTC however had no plans to squash one of the biggest selling points of their phones. "What happens there should not", says HTC Benelux director Mark Moons. "But XDA-Developers is the largest and most active community of Windows Mobile developers. We can not live with ’em and we can not live without’ em."
The outcome of these statements is therefore than an uneasy truce exists, leaving XDA-Developers to continue their exploits in peace, but always with a gun pointed at their head if either Microsoft or HTC changes their minds. If this were to happen however it is likely that both would see a dramatic loss of market share, as many regulars who only buy HTC Smartphones, abandon the platform in droves.
We hope therefore, as is the case now, that cooler minds continue to prevail.