Microsoft has released updated application certification requirements for submitting apps to the Marketplace that, according to this blog post, will go into effect on June 3 (after the release of Mango tools).
This is, of course, important news for anyone with apps in the Marketplace as well as anyone planning on submitting new apps. Let's take a look at the major differences between the previous version and the new one.
2.14 Your application must have distinct, substantial and legitimate content and purpose other than merely launching a webpage.
This is a new requirement. It appears to be aimed at apps that are simple WebBrowser containers pointing to a publicly available site. Pretty self-explanatory.
3.7 (part) Applications that enable legal gambling in the applicable jurisdiction where legal gambling is allowed may be permitted, subject to the Application Provider's acceptance of additional contract terms.
This is an addition to the illegal gambling clause to clarify that legal gambling is generally not an issue.
4.7 Application Tile Image
This section seems to have been added for the singular purpose of telling developers to make their small and large app tiles actually have someting to do with their apps. Seems kind of obvious to me, but I suppose this rule wouldn't have been made had someone not tried to violate it.
5.1.3 Application Responsiveness: If an application performs an operation that causes the device to appear to be unresponsive for more than three seconds, such as downloading data over a network connection, the application must display a visual progress or busy indicator.
This was changed from the previous "5.1.3 Application Does not Hang". It now has a well-defined limit of three seconds maximum before an app is required to display some kind of "busy" indicator. This makes sense from a UX perspective, although the only real difference between the two versions is the explicit 3 second rule, so it's not that different.
Um, yeah, I have a feeling Microsoft will fix this little omission.
6.5.4 The SoundEffect class must not be used to play a continuous background music track in an application.
This was changed from a "should" in a note to a separate "must" clause. MediaPlayer is for music, and SoundEffect is for, well, sound effects.
These are all the major changes I noticed, ignoring small wording changes for clarification purposes and the like. Overall, this is not a major policy change.