Something that outraged many people after the HTCRUU takedown was that HTC’s lawyer said custom ROMs had to be taken down, as they were a threat to both end-users and HTC. Additionally, he stated that any leads on any other custom ROMs would be appreciated, as they were going to be taken down, as well. As usual, HTC missed the point about what angered people, and issued the following statement:

Last week, there was some buzz about a website that contained RUUs for HTC devices being taken down at the request of HTC. We’d like to take a minute to provide some background.

The issue with the site in question was NOT that it provided custom ROMs or RUUs. The site used HTC trademarks without a license from HTC. The domain name contained ‘HTC’ and it used HTC logos, making it appear to be an official HTC website. Like any other company, we must protect our trademarks and brand. We cannot risk being associated with, and held liable for, software that we don’t have any control over that’s put onto an HTC device through a third party.

HTC openly embraces the community that chooses to flash custom ROMs onto their devices. The HTC Unlock Bootloader tool on htcdev.com evidences this support. We think the custom ROM community is valuable to the overall health of the Android ecosystem, and we have no intention of abandoning them. We love the passion of this community, and we hope you continue to build with us, use HTC products, and give us honest and direct feedback.

The statement completely misses what the development community was asking in plain and simple terms: your lawyer said redistribution of custom modified Sense-based ROMs was going to be investigated and prosecuted.

Sure, JMZ software was perhaps kind of dumb for including HTC in the domain name and using its image; however, tons of other sites do that and don’t get prosecuted. This statement doesn’t change the fact that was ticked people off was the forced removal of modified works and the notice that it was going to be pursued.

HTC, here is what people are asking. And feel free to post yes or no answers to these questions:

  • Are you going to shut down any site that distributes RUU files?
  • Are you backing your lawyer, saying distribution of Sense-based ROMs will be pursued and prosecuted?
  • Rather than continue to issue half-statements like the above that infuriate the public, will you please open a direct line to the development community that doesn’t let anti-HTC anger fester for tens days before a response that doesn’t answer the questions?

To be clear, I think everyone understands why you went after a domain name that started with HTC. HTCRUU might have been able to be confused with HTC, I’ll admit, although that is still far-fetched. But I don’t think too many people had a problem with your request that the name go away.

What people had a problem with was the removal of the RUU files, and more importantly the custom ROMs. Both are actively used in development and by the root crowd, and you don’t seem to be too keen on providing links to restore our phones back to their factory state.

Also, a personal request, fire your PR person or whoever makes people wait for these half statements. They’re only making things worse. Just answer the questions the developer community asks, and realize that you can’t manage the reactions positively by making people wait weeks for answers. There’s no statement that  you can issue now that’s not going to be too little, too late.

Want HTC to turn around and take the lead? Stop doing what you’ve been doing. Doing what caused you to fail before will cause you to fail again, and you’ve already lost so many developers just from what you’ve done in the past three months. The development community is actively engaged in fixing the bugs every official OTA update seems to include, and when they’re all gone and working on Nexus devices, you’re going to have to do all the work yourself.

If you want to let HTC know what you think about this whole mess, you can leave comments on the press release at the link below.

[HTC] Thanks, Simon!

Check out the rest of our Android coverage, including app reviewsNexus news, and more at pocketables.com/android.