Hwah? Microsoft encourages Geohot to jailbreak Windows Phone 7

Friday, 21 January 2011 04:51 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Wait, Geohot’s decided to open fire on another ultra corporation – even with his face still stinging from Sony’s giant lawsuit-slapping hand? Why, that’s absolutely preposterou–

Huh? Microsoft’s offering a free phone, you say? And thus concludes the part of the ride where the world makes sense.

After handing out free T-shirts to the first folks to jailbreak Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s now given Geohot a hearty thumbs up to do the same.

“If you want to build cool stuff on [Windows Phone 7], send me email and the team will give you a phone,” product management head Brandon Watson tweeted to George “Geohot” Hotz. “Let dev creativity flourish.”

This came shortly after Hotz declared his intention to buy a phone for himself and work his brand of cracking magic on the device.

All told, though, it’s pretty brilliant. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, after all. Jailbreaks are simply an inevitability, so you may as well get the brains behind them on your side. Also, extending a helping hand to Geohot of all people puts Sony’s iron-fisted approach in the doghouse – something we strongly doubt Microsoft’s losing any sleep over.


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  1. ybfelix

    “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”

    Then don’t jail it to begin with…

    Though I understand thing need to be restricted for the benefit of non-tech savvy users.

    I think such devices(or video games options!) could add a complex process – say, hide under several layers of menus and must read through the whole agreement – to enable “power user mode”. For example, server browser for console BFBC2 :-/

    #1 4 years ago


    Microsoft <3 hackers.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. NoxNoctisUmbra

    ahh the Microsoft phone…
    just another example Microsoft is always trying way too much.

    I still love my Xobx, and Widonws 7 for my PC, but seriously Microsoft, open your widows and see the reality… slow down and just stick to one thing or two, not 20!

    #3 4 years ago
  4. XxT_I_K_IxX_PR

    okay I remember @tea saying something that M$ could be behind Geohot’s hack to the ps3… Now reading this O-O I’m starting to believe this! nah I must be crazy they wouldn’t do that… would they? O.o

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Crysis

    Wouldn’t mind a Windows 7 tablet, but would not even consider a Windows Phone 7 OS on anything…
    I’d like a tablet with a slide out keyboard & the windows 7 OS, cool if they dedicate the index finger as the left mouse button & make the middle finger become the right click button on the touch screen.
    Something sort of along the lines of this:

    The keyboard & touch combination could possibly even excel the mouse & keyboard for certain games like RTS.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. NoxNoctisUmbra

    ASUS products are great! I cant wait for their tablets to come out!

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Crysis

    Although i believe Ubuntu would make the perfect tablet OS, i’m just more at home with Windows…

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    Windows 7 tablets have no purpose, while ASUS tablet is the most powerfull in the world. It does not make a lot of sense.

    Why someone need THAT? The best are with iOS or Android 3.0 honeycomb. Especially Motorolla XOOM.

    Windows 7 tablets is actually a bad idea.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. back_up

    M$ products are shitty
    They just want attention from gamers

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Crysis

    @8, I completely disagree, the main point of the tablet is to be a convenient & portable mini-computer, why not use a normal computer OS? Android & iOS are fine, but they’re best left for weaker & smaller devices.
    I’m not paying $400+ for an app centric device, I’d like to play actual games such as Crysis & Battlefield, I would like full media capabilities capable of playing any file i want, I would like full office software such as openoffice & until Android & iOS can offer me that, i’ll stick with their mobile phones.
    In other words, i would like a laptop with a touchscreen & tuck away keyboard. A DVD/BD drive would also be useful.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Gekidami

    lol Begging for attention.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Blerk

    This does seem like a rather bizarre thing to do.

    “Come in, Mr Burglar! Put your feet up, I’ll make you a cup of tea. I’ll leave the door unlocked, just let yourself out when you’re finished!”

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Michael O’Connor

    You people have absolutely no fucking idea what you’re talking about, do you?

    Geohot is not a pirate, and never has been. He has never promoted hacks that expressely allow for people to steal content – his iphone hacking is proof enough of this. If other people circumvented his work to allow the illegal obtainment of content, this is not his fault.

    Companies rely on these hackers to help them figure out holes in their own systems. Sony going after Hotz has to be one of the most ignorantly short sighted moves the company has made in a long time.

    I can’t vouch for the fail0verflow people, but Hotz is not guilty of anything. Having this guy on their pay role would be a benefit to any company.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Crysis

    @ O’Connor, he publicly posted how to jailbreak the PS3 & it was more than obvious that pirates will take advantage, i could bet thousands of people have previously cracked the system but they didn’t tell everyone else how to do it, they probably just quietly pirated games for themselves & a couple mates.
    He may not have directly done anything wrong himself, but he knowingly allowed for possibly millions to do so.
    It’s like being an arms dealer, you may not directly kill anybody, but chances are someone you sell to will kill.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. JonFE


    I highly doubt that if “thousands of people had previously cracked the system”, they would stay quiet about it.

    Even if the actual hackers themselves would not brag about it publicly, once they shared it with their mates, it would no longer be a secret and eventually it would come out.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Crysis

    @15, I’m probably exaggerating, but there are previous people who have cracked it but have stayed silent.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Callum

    Hehe, Microsoft are sick of Sony being in the headlines all the time.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow the headline is:

    “Microsoft moons English Queen! ” or
    “Microsoft seen leaving club drunk with a transsexual! ”
    “Microsoft drunken marriage to Thai-land-lady-boy in Vegas”

    I could go on…

    #17 4 years ago
  18. NoxNoctisUmbra

    I agree with Crysis @10
    I love the idea of a Tablet which is simple to use with your fingers, to have full compatibility with windows 7 which is very good for anything program. I hate that each Android, IOS and what not use different apps for Youtube, Google Maps, etc etc, I would just love to have the FULL experience of Desktop computer on my Tablet.

    PS. One of the ASUS tablets to come out will be around 1000 bucks!!! Bit pricey! But worth the price!

    #18 4 years ago
  19. TheWulf

    @12: trollface.jpg?

    The weird thing with Blerk is that I feel he’s old and wise enough to know better, but he just likes screwing with people, which is essentially what that comment is. :p And I’ll be damned if my behavioural pattern recognition systems are off. This is all a bit of an amusing meta-game to Blerk, but I don’t blame him for that.

    @13: You are, of course, entirely correct.

    Please note the complete lack of sarcasm in that sentence!

    GeoHot has always been and will always be about restoring rights to people. On the iPhone, some of the things you have to pay for are ridiculous, and given the chance – homebrew developers would make these things for you for free. This is not piracy, this is just people being awesome enough to give things away. That’s what homebrew is about.

    One thing that people fail to understand is that homebrew is not very far from open source, in fact, the two of them often go hand in hand. Homebrew allowed me to use my legally owned data files from LucasArts games (via Steam) to play on handheld devices. This would not have been possible without homebrew and hackers like GeoHot.

    Am I wrong for wanting to play a game I own on a mobile device that I also own, via means that aren’t official?

    So I agree with you, Mike. People are being willfully ignorant. It’s annoying too because I actually like VG247. I’ve quickly come to realise that it’s one of the better gaming communities I’ve seen. Some people will have their head up their rear, though. And folks like Mr. 12 there trolling us all are not helping. :P (Even if it is funny.)

    @16: If you’re going to make a claim that would put GeoHot in a legally questionable light, then the burden of proof rests with you. You must now unequivocally prove that a large umber of people had cracked devices before GeoHot, and you must do so whilst leaving no reasonable doubt.

    You can’t do that because you know as well as I do that you’re talking out of your rear. :P Anyone who had managed to crack a device like this would make it public. The only people smart enough to hack a device like this would be white hat hackers like GeoHot and fail0verflow, and they’d do their best to ensure that people get the most out of their device without opening the doors to piracy.

    Sony dropped a very large ball when they removed Other OS from the PS3. I hadn’t updated my firmware because of that since I actually use the Linux partition, I have stuff on it that Sony would’ve just wiped. I was waiting for something like this to happen, simply so that my full rights to use the device would be restored.

    And that’s what white hat hackers are about – restoring rights. But yes, let’s praise the saintly corporations and demonise the white hat hackers who give people back what they were actually entitled to at point of sale.


    #19 4 years ago
  20. Crysis

    Let’s also remember that hackers caused the removal of Linux in the first place, I’m not against homebrew, i love any open OS & it’s why i hate Apple, but remember, we may own the product, but we do not own the software, i have 2 perfectly good computers & an android mobile so i dont need to hack any of my shit.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Psychotext

    “Let’s also remember that hackers caused the removal of Linux in the first place”

    Sony released the slim minus OtherOS before anyone had found any attack vectors using it. It was only when Geohot starting messing with it after that point that progress was made.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. theevilaires

    ^ WRONG! as usual

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Psychotext

    In the end of 2009, Hotz announced his efforts to hack the Sony PlayStation 3, a console widely regarded as being the only fully locked and secure system of the seventh generation era. Hotz opened a blog to document his progress, and five weeks later, on January 22, 2010, he announced that he had successfully hacked the machine by enabling himself read and write access to the machine’s system memory and having hypervisor level access to the machine’s processor. Hotz also detailed the many things his work could allow, such as homebrew and PlayStation 2 emulation (a feature removed by Sony in newer revisions of the console to tackle production costs).

    On January 26, 2010, Hotz released the exploit to the public. It requires the OtherOS function of the machine, and consists of a Linux kernel module and gaining control of the machine’s hypervisor via bus glitching. Hotz wrote that “Sony may have difficulty patching the exploit”. On March 28, 2010, Sony has responded by announcing to release a PlayStation 3 firmware update that removes the OtherOS feature, a feature that was already absent on the newer Slim revisions of the machine. This generated an uproar by the PlayStation 3 community. Hotz had then announced plans of a custom firmware, similar to the custom firmware for the PlayStation Portable, to enable Linux and OtherOS support, while still retaining the features of newer firmwares.

    Slim released (without OtherOS) September 2009.
    Geohot starts working on it November 2009.
    Sony patches OtherOS out of original PS3s as of April 1st 2010.

    What exactly is wrong about that?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. EscoBlades

    @17: How was that constructive in anyway?

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Blerk

    Cool, I didn’t realise I’d offended you again, Mr Wulf!

    If you trawl back you’ll note that I haven’t actually been one of the people ‘demonising’ Geohot or calling for his public execution. Indeed, I’ve been quite surprised at some of the reactions to his hack given that the same thing has happened to other platforms without anyone raising an eyebrow.

    The thing that’s raising an eyebrow here is that Microsoft have obviously gone out of their way to make Windows Phone 7 secure. Why would they purposely encourage someone to break that security? If they wanted to find the holes, wouldn’t it be better for them to actually hire him rather than giving him a free phone and essentially challenging him to do it?

    I’m not saying that what he’s doing is illegal, but what Microsoft is doing is certainly a little unusual – akin to wiring your house with a burglar alarm and then inviting the burglar in. Do you see?

    The cynic in me is saying that they’ve only done it to keep it in the news, because they know the story’s bad press for Sony.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. Psychotext

    @25: They’ve already been working with one group which has made an unlocker for WP7. This is only really news because it’s geohot.

    They knew it was going to happen, they’re just trying (possibly naively) to control it.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Crysis

    @24, Doesn’t work with links, give us the picture!

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Robo_1

    DRM it is:

    Each game will have a Blu Ray serial number.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Blerk


    #29 4 years ago
  30. Detale

    Yes, because that’s worked so well on the PC.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. theevilaires

    People have been trying to hack the PS3 long before Geohot and probably were successful. Just because they never came out openly doesn’t mean it never happen. Let me break it down to you.

    There are known knowns: things we know we know.

    then there are known unknowns: Things we know we don’t know.

    But there are also unknown unknowns: the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

    Sony knows who hacked their system and I can recall several updates we’ve all gotten that looked to appear to change nothing but actually did something. I’m guessing it was for the hackers without the egos who just wanted pirated games. If you looked on a lot of bit torrent sites back in 2007 and 2008 there were PS3 games you could pirate meaning someone had to find a way to hack the PS3 to play pirated games.

    Geohot being world renowned for hacking the iPHONE and later versions back in Feb 2008 through 2009 started to set his sights at the “publicly” unhackable monster PS3. SONY decided to not include linux later on in the PS3 slim which released in fall 2009 but of course had planned specs and all way before its 2009 released. SONY knew that having linux the system would be hacked eventually and they got tired developing patches for the holes I guess and said fuck it rip the whole door off and make it a concrete wall.

    Well that concrete wall wasn’t strong enough as you can see. They probably waited to see if a hackers could by pass a final patch before inevitability saying fuck it and getting rid of the feature all together last April.

    But heres what puzzles me. If the last firmware update opened the system because they took Linux out. Then how is it possible a PS3 slim can be hacked if it never had Linux in the first place. So really the firmware SONY released fucked themselves of course.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Gadzooks!

    This is a much better attitude than Sony’s dickmove lawsuit.

    They deserve the full wrath of the hacking community for continually removing features from the console.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. Gekidami

    “Continually removing features”? “continually”?

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Gadzooks!


    Yes, continually. From BC through USB ports and card readers to OtherOS. The PS3 is a shadow of what it was at launch.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Crysis

    well removing ps2 bc was a kick in the nuts, surely emulating it could not have been too hard, but they opted not to, probably so they can continue to shift ps2 consoles.
    @34, & the price is also a shadow to compared to what it was at launch, coincidence? external USB hubs & card reads only cost a couple of bucks anyways.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. Callum

    @ EscoBlades, wts a sense of humour! Haha.

    @ TEA
    “There are known knowns: things we know we know.

    then there are known unknowns: Things we know we don’t know.

    But there are also unknown unknowns: the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
    Talking in riddles again I see? hehe

    #36 4 years ago
  37. Detale

    I’m going to ask a slightly stupid question, so bear with me. How does this affect the average gamer like me. Forget piracy, because I’m not going to stop buying games, but does it really affect online play much? I don’t really spend that much time playing multiplayer these days but do enjoy it when I get the chance. Does this really affect that aspect of it all? I know we’ve seen footage of hacked MW2 games, and there’s stuff about Demon’s Souls being screwed now too. Do you think this is going to happen to all games in the future?

    #37 4 years ago
  38. Gadzooks!


    Yes the price has been reduced but the PS3 was horrifically overpriced to start with.

    Consoles always come down in price as manufacturing ramps up and hardware revisions produce cheaper components. They usually gain features with new revisions rather than lose them though.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. theevilaires

    Yes Detale OMG I was playing COD4 the other night and some asshole hacked the game and I was running around super fast. It broke COD4 my only game I can put in and don’t care about wasting my life not getting trophies while I play. Other modes like Sabotage seemed ok but I love my free for all man.

    So yes its going to affect online like the PSP online. Luckily COD4 is an old game and most of the ass holes have moved to Black ops so they won’t venture backwards to perfection. I love my 3 kill only streaks. So all you noobs and hackers stay on Black Ops. I hope this doesn’t affect Killone 3

    #39 4 years ago
  40. Crysis

    @38, well after the launch 20gb model, all models have since included wifi, & it was a nice move with the second lot of slims to contain larger hdd @ the same price, but i would personally buy whatever is cheapest & buy a separate hdd, bought my mates 40gb ps3 when he moved towards a slim & chucked a 320gb hdd in all for $200.

    #40 4 years ago

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