App Store developer and critic Kosta Eleftheriou has settled his lawsuit with Apple, according to a report of Tech Crunch. The suit, filed in March 2021argued that Apple made it difficult for him to sell his appFlicktype, on the App Store, after apparently losing interest in acquiring the technology.
The lawsuit alleged that Apple used its monopoly power as the maker of the iPhone and as the company in charge of the App Store to “crush” developers who competed with it through “excessive fees and selective application of opaque and unreasonable constraints”. Eleftheriou also accused Apple of doing little to stem the tide of copycat scam apps that tricked potential users of its app, a swipe-based keyboard for the Apple Watch. (This was, by the way, around the time Apple and Epic were also face off in court on how much power the iPhone maker should have over how software is distributed on iOS.)
The trial you can find out more here, was fired at the behest of Eleftheriou’s company, Kpaw, earlier this summer. Apple did not immediately respond to The edgerequest for comments on the regulations.
In an interview with The edge, Eleftheriou said he was unable to comment on the settlement or his feelings about it. However, he was able to offer some suggestions on what Apple could do to improve the App Store in the future. He said that most of the suggestions that my colleague Sean Hollister made last year in his article “Eight things Apple could do to prove it actually cares about App Store users” were still on the table and would be a start.
From that list, which includes bolstering the app review team, verifying that top-selling apps are on the rise, and automatically refunding people who got scammed, Apple actually made progress on two items since Eleftheriou filed his lawsuit. On the one hand, he brought back the report button, which might help people who find obviously fraudulent apps. It also made changes to the automatic subscription renewal system – which Sean and Eleftheriou suggested removing, with users being prompted to renew each time a payment was due. Now Apple will let subscriptions auto-renew even if there was a small price increase. (I didn’t say the company was moving in the direction we’d like to see.)
Eleftheriou also suggested that Apple could be more publicly transparent about why the apps were removed. He said that when you visit an App Store URL for an app that’s no longer on the store, it should tell you why it was removed, whether that’s because the developer took it down themselves or because ‘She broke a rule like fake reviews.
Eleftheriou discovered and pointed out blatant app store scams (something he still does, according to Tech Crunch), and he says that kind of movement would help the public get an idea of how many scams are in the store and how many scams are removed. While he doesn’t think Apple would release its own stats, he says the public pages that explain why apps were removed could be pulled from data from companies that monitor the App Store, which gives us a rough idea. the prevalence of various problems.
As a user, this type of information would let me know how careful I should be when browsing apps. And while at first glance it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of upside for Apple, it could help the company prove that it’s getting better at running the App Store. As the threat of antitrust regulation is mountingespecially when it comes to Apple’s role as the owner of the platform and company controlling the store, this could indeed be a valuable thing.