Called ChevronWP7, the software mimicked the $99/year developer account by allowing users to sideload applications outside Microsoft’s official marketplace. The tool was free to download and use, and was never meant to promote piracy, but rather to promote homebrew development. However critics didn't agree, with one even protesting that ChevronWP7 provided "one of the planks for the bridge to piracy."
But now the debate is over. After a meeting with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Director of Developer Experience Brandon Watson, the three-man ChevronWP7 team has decided to pull the plug.
"Through this discussion, we established a mutual understanding of our intent to enable homebrew opportunities and to open the Windows Phone 7 platform for broader access to developers and users," the team said. "To pursue these goals with Microsoft’s support, Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in further discussions with us about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7. To fast-track discussions, we are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately."
Following the announcement, the team revealed a Windows Phone 7 custom ringtone manager, proving that homebrew developers and Microsoft can indeed exist together in harmony. The team has even released the source code to guide hopeful WP7 homebrew developers.
With the ChevronWP7 chapter now closed, it wouldn't be surprising to see the next unlock/jailbreak tool appearing any day now.