The ChevronWP7 team has has been headed down a bumpy road since the outset of its official Windows Phone unlock program, facing issues with token availability, then running out altogether, and finally announcing the end of operations about two months back. At the time, it revealed that users who had taken advantage of the offer while it was available would be eligible for a free year of full AppHub membership. What it managed to gloss over, though, and what’s coming to light now, is that Microsoft will be re-locking all phones currently unlocked via ChevronWP7 Labs, starting in August.
Unlocked phones won’t automatically re-lock, but following August 11, the next time one of them is connected to Zune on a PC, Microsoft will lock that baby down tight. Sure, if you take advantage of the App Hub offer, your phone will remain unlocked so long as you continue to subscribe, but once that free year is up, you’ll find yourself with a re-locked handset if you don’t start paying. Could Microsoft simply continue to honor the unlock tokens it provided ChevronWP7 Labs? Of course; it’s the only player with any control over this situation. So why won’t it?
When ChevronWP7 Labs made its shutdown announcement in April, it claimed that the (originally unstated) purpose of the project was to convert amateur developers into paying AppHub subscribers. Apparently Microsoft’s reaction when it doesn’t get the outcome it was hoping for is to make sure no one else gets what they want, either. We understand where it’s coming from; it’s Microsoft’s platform and it can control it how it wants. But just because it can do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.