The Windows Phone Dev Center has been received with open arms by the community, representing a big leap forward in continuity of the experience and the overall quality. It's been a little more than a week since the relaunch, and lead Marketplace guru Todd Brix has published a very transparent article answering the most frequent questions users have had.
Discussed topics include what's happening to an app that was submitted during the maintenance period a few weeks ago, why app reports have gone blank for some, and more. However, none of these were as enlightening as one question answered by Brix that might finally give developers some ease of mind about piracy:
Q: My app appears to be encrypted, is that true?
A: Yes. All existing apps in the Marketplace catalog, and all new app submissions and updates are automatically encrypted. You don’t need to do anything to make this change for existing apps.
This is absolutely huge news, and we're surprised it went unnoticed with the Dev Center's debut last week. Developers have long complained about how easy it was for hackers to yank an app from the Marketplace, and we've seen Microsoft make certain moves to slow this down. One decision was to remove the Marketplace catalog from the Zune PC software, which was done to stop certain software that took advantage of a loophole in Zune to rip apps. The other big factor that has seemingly slowed down piracy is the fact that there's no easy way to unlock a Windows Phone anymore, with ChevronWP7 Labs decommissioned and the latest set of Mango-based hardware tough to crack without flashing a new ROM or paying up for a developer account. There have also been workarounds that developers themselves could implement within their code.
Yet it was app encryption that's been the most-demanded, and to give you an idea of how long the wait has been we've been hearing about it from Microsoft since last November. The real litmus test for this new Marketplace app encryption will be when a big-name app released -- then we'll wait and see if the XAP file appears on file sharing sites. In the meantime, if you're a developer you can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that your app may finally be protected during a time when piracy is a big issue on mobile phones.
Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog