Published On: Fri, Mar 19th, 2021

Fleksy co-founder is suing Apple over mislaid income ensuing from App Store scammers

Kosta Eleftheriou, a co-founder of a Fleksy keyboard app after sole to Pinterest in an acqui-hire deal, has been pursuit courtesy to Apple App Store issues like feign reviews, ratings and subscription scams, as good as antagonistic counterpart apps, after his possess app, FlickType, was targeted by scammers. Now, a developer is holding a subsequent step in his App Store crusade: he’s filing a lawsuit opposite Apple.

The suit, that a developer claims was filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in Santa Clara county, alleges that Apple enticed developers to build applications for a App Store — a usually place iOS applications can be legally sole — by claiming it’s a protected and infallible place, nonetheless doesn’t strengthen legitimate app developers opposite scammers profiting from their tough work.

What’s more, a fit says, Apple is disincentivized to do so since scammers are generating income for Apple around their use of subscriptions, that engage a income share with Apple.

Eleftheriou has been privately impacted by App Store scammers. He left a well-paying pursuit during Pinterest to rise his FlickType app, an choice suitable keyboard for Apple Watch. After a launch, a app was targeted by copycat app makers who explain their apps offer a same underline set as FlickType nonetheless instead close users into cost subscriptions for their feeble designed software. They also inundate their apps with feign ratings and reviews to make them seem to be a many improved choice when users are looking for an app in this space.

Meanwhile, FlickType sports a 3.5-star rating, as it’s mostly dinged for Apple Watch height issues that are outward a developer’s control or blank facilities users wish to call courtesy to. Eleftheriou engages with his app’s users, however — responding to complaints and vouchsafing users know when facilities they’ve requested were combined or bugs have been fixed. Scammers simply buy adequate 5-star reviews to keep their apps’ altogether ratings higher.

In other words, Eleftheriou is doing a tough work of being an App Store developer figure out a difficulty for suitable keyboards for a Watch, nonetheless his intensity income is being shifted over to fraud apps who have a falsified App Store presence.

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In years past, Apple took severely issues of app quality. It worked to purify adult untrustworthy subscription apps and mislay clones and spam from a App Store by unchanging sweeps. It even once went so distant as to anathema apps built regulating templates in an bid to lift a bar on app quality, that hurt tiny businesses that didn’t have a resources or supports to build some-more veteran apps. (Apple after revised a process to be some-more equitable.)

But a new lawsuit alleges that Apple is now doing small to military scammers’ apps since it increase from developer misconduct. Eleftheriou also records he has lifted these issues to Apple around his association KPAW, LLC, nonetheless Apple did “next to nothing” to solve a problem.

Eleftheriou’s story is even some-more complicated, though, since his app was deserted from a App Store countless times after assembly with Apple special projects manager Randy Marsden over a probable acquisition. He tells TechCrunch numbers were discussed with Apple and his meetings had enclosed a executive and a VP, among others. Apple was deliberation branch FlickType into an Apple Watch feature, a lawsuit notes.

Shortly thereafter, FlickType was pulled from a App Store over App Store Review Guidelines violations, even as a competitor’s app was approved. Eleftheriou appealed for his app by Developer Relations nonetheless was given no superintendence on how to forestall a same problem in a future, he said.

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Over a months that followed, FlickType continued to face rejections from App Store Review. Apple’s App Store Review pronounced that a app offering a “poor user experience,” even nonetheless tech reporters during countless outlets had praised it, and Apple had once deliberation shopping it. App Review also told a developer that “full keyboard apps are not suitable for Apple Watch,” while it continued to concede competitors to tell their possess keyboard apps.

Apple’s App Review group also authorised third-party apps that were regulating FlickType’s integratable chronicle of a keyboard to be authorized though issues. These enclosed Watch apps like Nano for Reddit, Chirp for Twitter, WatchChat for WhatsApp and Lens for Instagram.

After Apple authorized FlickType in Jan 2020, a association claims it had already mislaid over a year of income to aspirant keyboards that were not constantly being rejected. Nevertheless, FlickType reached a App Store’s Top 10 Paid app list and generated $130,000 in a initial month. As a outcome of a success, it was fast targeted by scammers who launched watered-down, hardly serviceable competitors to a app, slicing into FlickType’s revenue. FlickType’s income forsaken to usually $20,000 per month. The competitors were also regulating feign ratings to get their app increased and commissioned by gullible users.

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Eleftheriou’s story was not unique, as it incited out. In new months, he has been documenting a App Store’s multimillion-dollar scams, including those he was confronting as good as others brought to his courtesy by developers with identical struggles. Apple, in some cases, would take movement opposite a scammers he highlighted on amicable media. In other cases, it would not. And it would infrequently usually take down one of a developer’s fraud apps, nonetheless concede others underneath a same developer criticism to continue to operate.

The new lawsuit aims to reason Apple accountable for a issues Eleftheriou faced by seeking Apple to revive his mislaid income and compensate out any other indemnification awarded by a court.

Apple has not responded for a ask for criticism during this time.

A duplicate of a lawsuit is below. It is not nonetheless appearing in open record searches for corroboration purposes. We’ll follow adult to endorse when a box appears online and refurbish accordingly.

Kpaw, LLC v. Apple, Inc by TechCrunch on Scribd

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