Another developer accuses Apple of abusing market power and is going to court in the USA: Apple is using its monopoly position in the sale of apps for its own profit – at the expense of small developers and end customers, according to Kosta Eleftheriou’s lawsuit (Kpaw vs. . Apple, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara).
The group uses its position as a platform operator to keep potential competition in check and at the same time benefits from “fraudulent practices”, as stated in the application. The core of the allegations is that Apple does not take sufficient action against scam apps and fraudulent methods (such as 5-star ratings purchased) in the App Store because the company earns money from every subscription and purchase.
Interest in buying, then app rejections
In 2019, Apple signaled its interest in buying its latest app FlickType, writes Eleftheriou, who has developed several keyboard technologies for entering text on touchscreens. The app includes a keyboard for people with visual impairments on the iPhone and a keyboard for the small Apple Watch display.
After the discussions ended in the sand, Apple blocked its app for months – and rejected a keyboard for the Apple Watch as not useful, but at the same time allowed competitors to enter the store. Only after a year did Apple finally approve FlickType in the App Store at the beginning of 2020, where the app sold 130,000 US dollars in the first month.
Only a few weeks later, scam apps that were barely functioning copied elements of his app and were able to position themselves higher in the search through purchased reviews – this led to a slump in sales. Apple did not respond to his advice on the scam apps. It was not until another year later that the group recently took action against some of the fraudulent apps listed by it – after a media stir. Eleftheriou accuses Apple of misleading advertising, unfair competition, negligence and fraud, among other things. The developer is now demanding compensation.
App Store under attack
The criticism of the central app store and Apple’s rules is getting louder: developers, customers and also the operator of an alternative app store are already taking legal action against the group. In several countries, regulatory authorities have also initiated investigations following complaints; in the USA, major app providers are simultaneously trying to force changes to certain rules by law. Apple’s defense is that the strict requirements are there to protect customers.