LTW, AP

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is opening up its mobile applications process.

In a statement issued early Thursday, Apple said it has “listened to our developers” and is “relaxing all restrictions” on apps as long as they “do not download any code.”

Apple also said it will lift restrictions imposed earlier this year on using third-party development tools that "translate" code written for another platform. That means developers who work in Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash or Oracle Corp.’s Java language can convert their programs into iPhone apps without rewriting them.

Thursday’s announcement follows two years of complaints from software developers about Apple Inc. using secret and seemingly capricious rules to block some applications.

The store has more than 250,000 applications for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

Apple also said it will lift restrictions imposed earlier this year on using third-party development tools.

Developers have had little guidance from Apple, meaning they often had to complete their programs only to find them blocked by the company.

All the same, Apple’s store has been a runaway success since its launch in 2008, and now has more than 250,000 applications for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

The App Store’s chief competitor, Google Inc.’s Android Marketplace, has few restrictions for developers.

Here’s the statement from Apple:

“The has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world’s largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.

“We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

“In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

“In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

“The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”

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