Developer pulled WP7 update tool at Microsoft request

The software giant told him the phones will become 'un-serviceable', he said

The developer of an unauthorized tool that Windows Phone 7 customers could use to force an update for their phones explained on Friday that he pulled the tool at Microsoft's request.

Microsoft told him that there were "several problems" with the tool and with "the manner in which it changes phones," developer Chris Walsh wrote on his blog.

"Despite the fact that all outward signs indicate the phone has been updated... Microsoft tells me otherwise," he wrote.

In addition, the company told him that the update will put the phones in a "non-serviceable state," he wrote.

Some people who have used the update tool successfully appear skeptical of Microsoft's explanation, judging from their comments on the blog. "Of course it puts the phone in an 'un-serviceable' state -- that's their way of saying that it takes the phone out of warranty," one commenter named Rick wrote.

Walsh released the tool on Monday. The move followed an ordeal stretching over a month during which Microsoft has faced numerous problems trying to deliver two updates to WP7 phones. Three of five models in the U.S. eligible to get the updates have yet to receive either.

On Wednesday, Walsh pulled the updater without explanation and Microsoft warned people against using it.

"If you attempt one of these workarounds, we can't say for sure what might happen to your phone because we haven't fully tested these homebrew techniques," Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering for Windows Phone, wrote in a blog post. He suggested the phones might become unusable.

This is the second time that Microsoft has asked Walsh to remove an unauthorized tool. He and two colleagues published software in November that would let people load applications onto the phones that aren't in the Marketplace. They later pulled the tool after Microsoft promised to do more to support developers and noted that the tool would become unusable with a future update.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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