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Alongside some of Apple's more high-profile changes to the development guidelines for the App Store, Apple has quietly begun removing the records of app names that are reserved but remain unused, TechCrunch reports.
The changes come as Apple is being more transparent about its app submission process. The Cupertino, Calif., company published Thursday its guidelines for approving or rejecting apps submitted to the App Store.
Although the issue of app store "squatters" was brought up over a year ago, it wasn't until recently that Apple began restricting the name reservation process.
Developers will have 120 days to upload a binary after creating an app in the iTunes Connect system, according to an email from Apple obtained by TechCrunch. After 90 days, developers will receive a notification from Apple, warning them that they only have 30 days left to upload their app. Once the 120 days are past, "the app name will then be available for another developer to use."
Management of the app store has become increasingly critical as developers flock to a platform that many have described as a "gold rush." Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced in June that the App Store had already paid out $1 billion dollars to developers in just two years.
As of March, an estimated twenty percent of iPhone app developers come from startups founded specifically to create applications for the iPhone, according to a survey by Flurry.
With over 250,000 apps on the App Store, "'discoverability' has become a significant issue," noted Flurry. As such, app name squatting, much like cybersquatting during the 90s, has become an issue too serious for Apple to ignore.