Updated: Microsoft vs. XDA Developers (or not)

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in a way it shouldn't be a big surprise. On Jan. 22, XDA Developers Member Da_G ported and posted a Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM for the HTC Fuze/Touch Pro. This was a popular cooked ROM that developed a healthy following. If you were one of the many who flashed this ROM, consider yourself amongst the lucky ones. Now, after receiving a "legal complaint" from Microsoft, XDA pulled the links for the cooked ROM as well as other ROMs based on Windows Mobile 6.5.

It also looks like Microsoft is monitoring mirror sites that provide downloads for unlicensed (read: cooked) of Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as Windows Mobile 6.1. Hosting sites have received e-mails sent out by James Young, Internet Investigator on behalf of Microsoft. 

The e-mails identify the site as distributing unlicensed material and state,

"We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of this copyright work(s) via your company's network."

While Windows 6.1 was mentioned in the email, it appears that the developers of WM 6.5 ROMs were the target of the investigation. Several Windows Mobile 6.1 based ROMs still are available over at XDA.

We will admit to being of two minds on the issue: it's more than reasonable to argue that distributing unreleased and even cooked ROMs is piracy, so Microsoft is well within its rights to shut that stuff down. Add in the likely possibility that 6.5 won't run that well on current hardware and will therefore give a bad impression to users, and it's no surprise that Microsoft put the hammer down. On the other hand, ROM cooking is one of the more exciting (and loyalty-inducing) things going on in the Windows Mobile world (and especially in HTC circles) right now, so it's a bit of a shame to see it tamped down.

There's no telling how all this will play out. It may simply drive the development and distribution of cooked ROMs more underground. Two things are for certain: XDA-Developers.com has definitely seen an increase in traffic, and there are a lot of unhappy chefs in the kitchen.

Read: Fuze Mobility

Update: Looks like this James Young guy might not be on the level. More over at XDA.

Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!