Ina Fried

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Microsoft Smiles, Shrugs as Hackers Wangle Mango Onto Old WinMo Gear

When Windows Phone 7 was released, there were some owners of older Windows Mobile devices who hoped Microsoft might allow them to upgrade their phones to the new software.

That was especially true of owners of the HTC HD2 phone, a powerful slim device that was among the last and most capable of the Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. But while Microsoft never allowed such an upgrade, some tinkerers have managed to get the beta version of Mango — the next release of Windows Phone 7 — running on that HD2.

Although Microsoft has no plan to release such an update commercially, the company seems to be amused rather than irked at the developers’ creativity.

“We say tinker away with Mango and enjoy the juice,” Microsoft spokesman Bill Cox said in a statement to AllThingsD. “But beware the fine print — unlocking phones may void your warranty.”

Microsoft does plan to make the Mango release a free update for all existing Windows Phone 7 devices after the code is finalized this fall. Mango adds, among other things, improved browsing, integrated Twitter support and the ability to run more than one third-party program simultaneously.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work