Microsoft Application Competency Questions

We're part of of the MS Partner Network, and to continue that, either us (the developers) need to pass more MS tests, or see if our desktop app can pass the MS Application Competency test, in Windows 7 or 8. I'm researching the latter, but before creating test IDs, setting up test environments, installing kits, etc, I'm trying to figure out if it's even viable for us to attain the silver level (not gold).

We're a small shop (25 employees, 3 programmers) with less than 1000 customers, which we seek out, as we have very specific clientele. So our product is not something anyone would want to download, and I can't figure out if we have to make our product available on the MS Store, which we don't want. (Or is that only for mobile apps and not desktop apps?) We also require a back end SQL Server. Our app also uses third-party controls, and I cannot figure out if that's allowed, prior to jumping through all the hoops.

Does any of that make a difference? Can anyone try to get a desktop app to pass the MS app competency certification and not have to post it? Does using third-party controls matter?

Not sure if anyone here can even help me, but thought I'd try, as this is all new to me.
jjsatherAsked:
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Brad GrouxSenior Manager (Wintel Engineering)Commented:
Being part of the MS Partner network gives you various incentives, the decision on whether those incentives and benefits are worth your time and effort can only be determined by you and your company. Most companies find being a Gold or Silver partner very beneficial in the long run but what is good for one company, may not be good for another.

The full list of benefits can be found here - https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/Pages/Membership/core-benefits.aspx

Yes, your app can utilize 3rd party controls. Microsoft embraces their third party developers, applications and partners tremendously - more so than any other platform company. You do not need to make any products available in the Microsoft or Windows Stores - as those are stand-alone systems.

I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with all of the Partner information located at the following link before making a decision - https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/Pages/Membership/overview.aspx
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jjsatherAuthor Commented:
We know why it's beneficial to be part of the Network -- as I said, we already are part of it and want to continue.

Thanks for the other answers. So I can have third-party controls (that may not have passed MS competency) but my program that uses them can still pass MS competency? That seems a little odd to me, but if you're sure that's true, I'll proceed. Do you have an MS link to verify that?
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