Windows Phone 7 App Policies Firm, But Fair

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft says its Windows Phone 7 developer tools have already been downloaded more than 300,000 times. The firm hopes this means there will be plenty of apps available to help the new system compete with rivals such as the iPhone and Android.

Microsoft confirmed that the final edition of the developer toolkit will be released on September 16th, 2010: a package that should contain everything developers need to make sure their apps work when the phones go on sale. (Source:

Thus, we now have the clearest indication yet that phones carrying the new operating system should be on sale before the end of 2010. That will come as a relief to Microsoft staffers and investors alike: the system has been delayed several times and some have argued that this has left Microsoft severely handicapped in the smartphone race.

App Store More Developer Friendly

Announcing the date, Windows Phone 7 chief Brandon Watson said, "We're also taking additional steps to make sure that the developer experience with Windows Phone Marketplace is even more friendly and intuitive. Ask any mobile developers about their biggest headaches and you are likely to hear about an opaque or non-existent app store ingestion process." (Source:

It's clear the company has faced a serious challenge when it comes to vetting Windows Phone 7 apps. On the one hand, it wants to make sure apps work effectively and securely: if they don't, Microsoft is likely to get some of the blame, even when that isn't justified.

On the other hand, the company wants to avoid coming across as heavy-handed as Apple, whose vetting policy appears arbitrary to some developers.

The Four Keys to Windows Phone 7 Apps

According to the company's guidelines, the four keys to approval for applications is that they are reliable, make efficient use of resources, do not interfere with how the phone functions, and don't contain malicious software.

When it comes to content, Microsoft appears to be more relaxed than Apple. While it bans explicit smut, violence and material involving illegal activity, Microsoft's guidelines don't cover matters of taste. That's in contrast to the Apple store, where one developer wound up having to negotiate over the names used for sounds in a flatulence simulator.

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