What's Up With Apple: App Store Scams, Tense Relations Ahead of WWDC and More

One of the primary arguments Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) made in its testimony during the Epic Games v. Apple trial is that without the company’s control of app distribution, iPhone owners would have to download or purchase apps from a “flea market.” The App Store, the company claimed, offers a safe, controlled environment built by Apple and app developers should happily pay the company’s commission rates.

A report over the weekend in the Washington Post raises questions about the quality of some of the 1.8 million apps available at the App Store. The report claims that 2% of the 1,000 highest-grossing apps available are scams that have cost people an estimated $48 million since the apps have been on the App Store.

Apple gets paid for downloads of those apps, just as it does for legitimate apps. The Washington Post noted that since notifying Apple of the 18 scam apps it found, the company has removed 12 of them.

The report comes just one day before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins. It is probably safe to say that tension between Apple and app developers runs high. The Epic Games trial has once again stirred up the pot of hard feelings some developers have toward the company.

One app developer, Marco Arment (Instapaper, Tumblr, Overcast), points out one obvious fact: “Without our apps, the iPhone has little value to most of its customers today.” While acknowledging the “thousands of Apple employees” who have built the company’s products and platforms, Arment has more pointed comments about Apple’s leadership.

Apple’s a lot of things, and “generous” isn’t one.

But to bully and gaslight developers into thinking that we need to be kissing Apple’s feet for permitting us to add billions of dollars of value to their platform is not only greedy, stingy, and morally reprehensible, but deeply insulting. …

The App Store is merely one platform’s forced distribution gateway, “facilitating” the commerce no more and no less than a web browser, an ISP or cellular carrier, a server-hosting company, or a credit-card processor. …

[T]he leaders have already shown us who they really are, what they really think of us, and how much they value our work.

MacRumors reported Monday morning that Apple has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with a 21-year old college student who sent her iPhone in for repair only to discover that while the phone was being repaired, “technicians posted 10 photos of the Apple customer in ‘various stages of undress and a sex video.'”

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