Apple’s App Store is hosting multimillion-dollar scams, says this iOS developer

Mobile app developer Kosta Eleftheriou has a new calling that goes beyond software development: taking on what he sees as a rampant scam problem ruining the integrity of Apple’s App Store.

Eleftheriou, who created the successful Apple Watch keyboard app FlickType, has for the last two weeks been publicly criticizing Apple for lax enforcement of its App Store rules that have allowed scam apps, as well as apps that clone popular software from other developers, to run rampant. These apps enjoy top billing in the iPhone marketplace, all thanks to glowing reviews and sterling five-star ratings that are largely fabricated, he says.

I’ve been saying it for ten years: the application store model is fundamentally broken, because the owner of the application store benefits from people gaming and cheating the system. In this case, Apple profits from every scam application or subscription sold, and since the App Store constitutes a huge part of Apple’s all-important services revenue, Apple has no incentive to really tackle issues like this.

Here’s what going to happen, based on my immutable pattern recognition skills: there will be more press outcry over this developer’s specific issue until Apple eventually sends out a public apology statement and sort-of addresses this specific issue. American tech media – which are deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem and depend on being in Apple’s good graces – will praise Apple’s response, and claim the situation has been resolved. Their next batch of review units and press invites from Apple are on their way.

And a few weeks or months later, another developer suffers from the same or similar issues, rinse, repeat.

The problem is not individual App Store rules or App Store reviewers having a bad day – the paradigm itself is fundamentally broken, and until the tech industry and us as users come to terms with that, these repetitive stories will keep popping up, faux press outrage and all.


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