George Hotz, aka “Geohot”, gained fame in smartphone circles by leading the wave of iPhone jailbreaks with his hardware-based, and later fully-software attacks on the phone’s protections. Nowadays he’s catching heat from Sony after taking advantage of a downright embarrassing flaw in Sony’s usage of the cryptographic systems securing the PlayStation 3, revealing encryption keys that give PS3 owners near-total control over their machines. As if he wasn’t busy enough, he may be turning his attention towards Windows Phone 7, with Microsoft reaching out to hook him up with a WP7 phone.
After hearing about the cordial reception the Chevron WP7 team just received from Microsoft, Geohot updated his website, apparently praising the company’s attitude towards the jailbreak community. News of that post quickly made its way up Microsoft’s ranks, leading to Windows Phone 7 Director Brandon Watson tweeting his offer to Geohot, wanting to send him some hardware so he could start playing around with the operating system.
To Microsoft’s credit, the last thing it needs is a resourceful hacker like Geohot on its bad side, so all the more reason to bring him on board as an ally. It’s still too early to see how the WP7 homebrew community will develop, and the fate of the system may fall upon the compromises Microsoft makes to grant access. Give coders too much leeway, and it opens the door for piracy; restrict what they can do with the phone too heavily, and it risks encouraging hackers like Geohot to work on fully opening access to the platform via their jailbreaks.