Speculation and squatting on app names has been a going on in the App Store for a while. It eventually became so problematic that Apple initiated some serious new guidelines aimed at cracking down on App Store squatters who were sitting atop popular app names without any app to show for it. That policy change seems to have worked in cutting down on name squatting in the iOS app store…. but if early indications are to be believed, it appears that Apple’s forthcoming Mac App Store might have an even bigger squatting problem on its hands, and that problem could keep some of the Mac’s best loved software frozen out of the Mac App Store indefinitely.
Here’s the problem, in a nutshell: most apps on the iOS App Store are new. They don’t predate the platform for which they were written. However, when the Mac App Store launches, it will mostly be made up of popular applications with well-known identities… and it’s those software identities, hard-earned in the Mac software market over many years, that are now being squatted.
It’s already a big problem. Todd Dichtendorf, developer of the popular Fluid application for the Mac, has been unable to register the name “Fluid” in the Mac App Store. It’s squatted. Same for Realmac Software, who have found their popular RapidWeaver and LittleSnapper brands already claimed. The same goes for YourHead‘s Twitter client, Kiwi, and Creacreed’s Hydra, Prizmo and Elasty apps.
Apple’s going to have to crack down on this. It appears that Mac App Store squatters are making a huge land grab for the names of the most popular existing Macintosh applications, which will — in turn — actually keep these applications from hitting the Mac App Store. If Apple doesn’t get this problem under control, the Mac App Store will end up launching without some of the Mac platform’s best known software. That’s the exact opposite of what they want.