Skip to main content

Apple Can't Allow The App Store To Be Gamed

Following news of the exploitation of users by developers in the iOS App Store, broken by Johnny Lin on Medium earlier this week, Apple has responded weakly to the threat to customers wallets, by banning apps highlighted by Lin but failing to address the root cause of the problem.

That appears to be the result of the way Apple handles subscription sales in the Store. Confusing language and clever obfuscation by the scammers tricks users into signing up for expensive subscriptions when they think they are only accepting a free trial.

This looks like a result of Apple's efforts to reduce the lead time for getting apps approved and into the App Store. Less time spent on scrutiny means more dubious practices sneaking into the Store.

There's some work for Apple to do here. For all that it needs the revenue which profitable apps generate, it can't  afford to allow the rock solid reputation of the App Store be tarnished. If that were to happen it could potentially impact iPhone sales, something that could be disastrous for the company.

So, actions for Apple. Firstly change the subscription process to prevent any more of these scams being undertaken. Secondly, root out all of the currently offending apps and boot them from the store, Thirdly, and finally, refund those users who have been scammed.

The App Store is a $10 billion business for Apple, it can't afford to take risks with it.