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After over a month of drawing attention to scam apps on the App Store, FlickType developer Kosta Eleftheriou has sued Apple over allegations of fraud, abuse of monopoly power, and the enablement of rampant scam apps.
Earlier in 2021, Eleftheriou pointed out the number of scam apps on the App Store affecting his business. After allegedly running into roadblocks during development which let the competition get ahead, he is now suing Apple for damages.
His claims indicate that scam apps were able to steal his ideas and promote themselves using his screenshots and videos. Users would download a scam app and be met with a payment screen before the app would open up — but ultimately the scam apps were broken.
Eleftheriou claims that potential customers were driven to scam apps using false advertising in the App Store, then those customers were scammed out of their money for fake apps. Eleftheriou also says Apple does nothing about this since the company profits from any transaction, real or not.
The App Store has a big problem— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) January 31, 2021
You: an honest developer, working hard to improve your IAP conversions.
Your competitor: a $2M/year scam running rampant.
The claim also alleges that Apple approached Eleftheriou to acquire FlickType. After negotiations halted, however, he says that this app was suddenly being denied for "no reason."
Eleftheriou says this was done to keep him from competing while Apple profited from scam apps in the App Store. He states that Apple's monopoly position gives it the ability to control the market and dismiss developers they no longer favor.
These claims are echoed by Fortnite developer Epic Games. The rise in lawsuits over the App Store and how Apple handles its business is indicative of the attention brought on by Epic's loud protests.
The charges against Apple are as follows:
- Falsely advertising that the App Store is a safe and trusted place.
- Unfair competition through blocking app development of its competitors.
- Breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing due to opaque guidelines and random enforcement.
- Fraudulently claiming that the App Store would be a place for developers to thrive while knowing it was not or ignoring the truth.
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