Developer Sues Apple for Abusing Its App Store ‘Monopoly Power’

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks with attendees during an Apple (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. - Apple unveiled its iPhone 11 models Tuesday, touting upgraded, ultra-wide cameras as it updated its popular smartphone lineup and cut its entry price to …
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App developer Kosta Eleftheriou, who previously called attention to the problem of scam apps on Apple’s iOS app store, has filed a lawsuit against Apple in California accusing the company of exploiting its monopoly power over apps made available for iPhone users.

The iOS app developer Kosta Eleftheriou, who has previously called out Apple for its failure to properly police its app store and the prevalence of scam app across the platform, has filed a lawsuit against the hardware giant in California. Eleftheriou is accusing the company of exploiting its monopoly power over iOS apps “to make billions of dollars in profits at the expense of small application developers and consumers.”

A complaint was filed in Santa Clara County court on Wednesday by Eleftheriou’s company KPAW LLC, which he co-owns with his partner Ashley Eleftheriou. The complaint details the development and release timeline of Eleftheriou’s popular Apple Watch keyboard app FlickType.

Eleftheriou began highlighting the growing issue of scam apps available in the Apple App Store in February. Each of the scam apps Eleftheriou found appeared to use the same method including boosting their apparent legitimacy in the app store by purchasing fake reviews.

Eleftheriou is also of the developers of the Flesky keyboard app which was acquired by Pinterest, and Blind Type which was acquired by Google.

Eleftheriou alleges that after he reported that his FlickType app had been targeted by a scam clone, Apple failed to fix the issue while the scam app took away potential sales and negatively affected his App Store ranking.

Breitbart News spoke to Eleftheriou directly who said in a statement:

Apple has been abusing their position to the detriment of consumers and developers for years. They like to portray the App Store as “a place you can trust” and their practices as fair, but in reality they bully developers and fail to police their store, making it impossible for developers to compete fairly.

In his complaint, Eleftheriou claims that the company is “flexing its monopoly muscle against potential competition” by removing his FlickType keyboard app from the iOS app store after he reported issues relating to scam apps on the app store.

The complaint states:

Apple entices software application developers like Plaintiff to develop innovative applications with the promise of a fair and secure App Store in which to sell them. In truth, Apple systematically flexes its monopoly muscle against potential competition through the App Store and profits from rampant fraudulent practices. If Apple cannot buy a desired application from a developer on the cheap, Apple attempts to crush that developer through exploitive fees and selective application of opaque and unreasonable constraints against the developer.

At the same time, Apple permits other developers that Apple does not view as real competition, including scam competitors, to peddle similar, inferior products because Apple profits from their sales. Scammers oftentimes use screenshots and videos taken from legitimate developer’s applications and manipulate their ratings. Apple does little to police these practices because it profits from them. Apple then lies to its regulators by asserting that it must maintain its monopoly power over the sale of Apple-related applications to protect consumers, when, in fact, Apple lets them get ripped off and exploits the developers trying to deliver innovation to consumers.

The complaint goes on to add: “Despite possessing massive resources and technological savvy, Apple intentionally fails to police these fraudsters, costing honest developers millions, and perhaps billions, while Apple continues to amass huge profits for itself.”

It continues: “Apple holds both its device users and developers hostage. Yet each time it faces antitrust claims, Apple justifies its monopoly by claiming it is necessary to protect its users and developers from unscrupulous conduct and ensure a fair competitive marketplace for the benefit of both. In truth, Apple turns a blind eye to rampant fraud and exploitation to make an easy profit.”

Read the full complaint below:

Kpaw, LLC v. Apple, Inc by Lucas Nolan

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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