According to a post at XDA Developers, Microsoft has laid down some rules. I'm not sure what their source is, but the folks at XDA Developers tend to have an inside track to this type of information. So, let's get to the rules.
- Maximum of 6 preloaded applications on the device, not to exceed 60MB
- All preloaded apps must pass Marketplace submission process (some extended APIs are available to OEM/MO so the process is slightly relaxed in that regard)
- The applications and all future updates must be free of charge.
- The apps must launch without dependency on network availability. (Say goodbye to proprietary mapping apps that require $10 monthly fees!)
- The apps must persist through a "hard reset". (I actually wish they didn't so they could be purged, but I get the requirement.)
- The apps must be updatable and revocable through the Marketplace. (Nice. So if MS finds a problem with the app that causes performance or other problems on the device, they can yank it.)
- The apps must notify the user at first launch of any capabilities to be utilized and get user consent
There has been no one thing wrong with Windows Mobile these past few years, just a bunch of issues of various sizes that contributed to the black eye the mobile platform has. Microsoft has taken care of a number of them with Windows Phone 7. These new rules will remove one more thing that has made the end user experience less than ideal. Kudos to them for taking control again.