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Apple has settled a lawsuit over control and power of its App Store

Developer and App Store critic Costa Eleftherio has settled his lawsuit with Apple, according to a report Tech Crunch. The suit, filed in March 2021, argued that Apple made it difficult to sell its app, Flicktype, on the App Store after it lost interest in buying the tech.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple used its monopoly as the iPhone maker and the company responsible for the App Store to “crush” competing developers through “exploitative fees and a selection of opaque and unreasonable restrictions.” Eleftheriou accused Apple of doing too little to stem the tide of copycat scam apps that trick potential users into using its app, a swipe-based keyboard for the Apple Watch. (That’s right, Apple and Epic are also fighting in court over how much power the iPhone maker should have over how software is distributed on iOS.)

The lawsuit, which you can read more about here , was dismissed earlier this summer at the request of Eleftheriou’s company, Kpaw. Apple did not immediately respond to the edgeRequest for comment about settlement.

In an interview with to the edge, Eleftherio said he could not comment on the settlement or his feelings about it. However, he was able to offer some suggestions on what Apple could do to further improve the App Store. My colleague Sean Hollister said in his article last year, “Eight Things Apple Can Do to Prove It Really Cares About App Store Users” that is still on the table, and he says it’s just starting.

From that list, bulking up the app review team, making sure top-selling apps are on the up-and-up, and automatically refunding people who’ve been scammed, Apple has actually moved on two things since Eleftherio filed his lawsuit. For one, it’s brought back the report button, which should help people spotting apparently fraudulent apps. It also made changes to the auto-renewing subscriptions system – which both Sean and Eleftherio suggested should be removed, prompting users to renew every time a payment is due. Now, Apple allows subscriptions to automatically renew despite a small price bump. (I’m not saying the company is moving in the direction we want to see.)

Eleftherio also suggested that Apple could be more publicly transparent about why apps are removed. He said that when you visit the App Store URL for an app that isn’t in the store, it should tell you why it was removed, either because it was removed by the developer itself or because it violated some rules. Fake reviews.

Eleftherio used to find and point out the worst scams in the App Store (which he still does, according to Tech Crunch), and he said this sort of move helps people understand how many scams are happening at the store and how many are being eliminated. While he doesn’t think Apple will release its own statistics, public pages that say why apps are removed can be mined for data from the companies that monitor the App Store, he says, giving us a rough idea of ​​how prevalent various problems are.

As a user, that kind of information tells me how careful I need to be when browsing apps. And while at first blush Apple doesn’t seem to have much of an advantage, it helps the company prove it’s better at managing the App Store. With the threat of antitrust regulation growing, especially around Apple’s role as the platform owner and the company that controls the store, this could be a really worthwhile thing.

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