Developer sources tell us that the process and policies are changing.
Gamereactor have learned that Microsoft appear to be changing up their publishing policies to allow independent developers to publish on their platform. At least this is what we gather from talking to a European developer.
The developer with a long and proven track record is currently in talks with Microsoft about self publishing on Xbox Live. The new policy separates the very smallest of indie developers (often consisting of one or two people) with the more complete independent studios. The difference is that the larger, more established studios won't be allowed to simply publish anything they produce as Microsoft wants to keep from flooding the market with software. There will also be some kind of unspecified selection process involved.
The developer also mentioned that there were discussion about cutting the cost of SDK (devkits) for select indie developers. Currently the daunting $10,000 price tag is a barrier to entry.