We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

The App Store has a fake app problem. Here's how Apple should crack down on one of its most lucrative businesses.

3 5 0

The open secret of the iOS App Store is that it's rife with scams. And it's not hard to see them if you look for more than a few minutes.

Last month, a developer posted a thread on Twitter outlining how fake apps are scamming customers through a combination of fake reviews, "free" apps that require you to start a trial before you can use the app, and weekly subscriptions. That developer has since filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming the company allows these scams "to make billions of dollars in profits at the expense of small application developers and consumers."

This highlights the dilemma facing Apple, which became the most valuable company on earth in large part because of the iPhone and the $500 billion ecosystem of apps that surrounds it. It also draws attention to the control Apple exerts over the App Store at a time that it's already under intense scrutiny for that very thing.

Apple's argument is that its guidelines and policies are designed to protect consumers. I'm inclined to believe that Apple means that, but the problem is that its actions don't actually back that up.

The iOS App Store Developer Guidelines state the following: "We work hard to make the App Store a trustworthy ecosystem and expect our app developers to follow suit; if you're dishonest, we don't want to do business with you." Except Apple does business with plenty of dishonest developers that make these apps.

I certainly don't think Apple endorses any of these scam apps, at least not directly. But by not taking a tougher stance, it's hurting both consumers and legitimate developers who are working hard to build apps that add value to users' lives.

An even bigger problem is that fixing this means cracking down on an extremely lucrative business for Apple. The App Store brings in an estimated $64 billion for Apple a year, and that number is growing.

Apple takes 30% of in-app purchases and either 15% or 30% of subscription fees. A lot of that's for games, which make up an estimated 66% of total revenue on iOS — games, of course,........

© Business Insider

Get it on Google Play