Microsoft Forces Site to Pull Legal Windows Mobile Files

Microsoft has ordered XDA-Developers to remove legitimate update ROMs to Windows Mobile from their web site. The popular web site is known for enabling users to install the latest (licensed) versions of Windows Mobile onto their HTC-based devices.

While the site does discuss general hacking, the developers have only permitted sharing of ROM versions that are legally licensed for the device. For example, a device with Windows Mobile 5 was only permitted to share WM5-installed ROM files.

Since these ROM files could only be used or installed onto devices that were already licensed for the particular version of Windows Mobile, the legal community found no problems with XDA-Developer’s hosting of such files.

The XDA-Developers site was bringing to light an important problem with Windows Mobile; that device owners were not being permitted to install the latest versions of Windows Mobile 5 (known as AKU updates) onto their devices. Manufacturers were failing to release those updates to customers, prompting XDA-Developers to bypass the manufacturers and compile ROM updates in a user-ready form.

This legal threat is perceived by many to be a SLAPP-based tactic (wherein, a company with considerably more legal support and funding threatens a smaller company or individual with legal action, knowing they do not have the ability to defend a legally-baseless case). However, the XDA-Developers web site is operated outside of a region where there is anti-SLAPP protection.

XDA-Developers Announcement

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