Nearly two percent of the 1,000 most profitable apps in Apple’s App Store are scams, a new analysis finds.
According to market research firm Appfigures, the offending apps have defrauded customers an estimated $48 million (£34 million), and Apple is profiting as it costs up to 30 percent commission on App Store transactions.
Last month, the US tech giant revealed it had rejected or removed more than a million malicious apps from its App Store and stopped more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020.
Scroll down for video
Scam apps: The 18 apps mentioned above have deceived Apple customers nearly $30 million (£21 million), according to market research firm Appfigures
Apple’s £1.5bn legal battle: what is the claim and why is it being filed?
Apple faces a £1.5bn legal battle over allegations that it has ‘overcharged’ millions of British customers for apps in the App Store.
The claim applies to the most popular apps on iPhones and iPads, such as Fortnite, YouTube, and Tinder, which require payment upon download, subscription payments, or in-app purchases.
It does not apply to apps that “provide physical goods or services that are consumed outside of the app.”
These include Deliveroo and Uber, which are not required to use Apple’s payment system or pay Apple the disputed 30 percent commission.
Affected app buyers, on whose behalf the class action is filed, will not pay any fees or fees to participate in the promotion, funded by Vannin Capital.
The action was initiated by Dr Rachael Kent, an expert in digital economics and a lecturer at King’s College, London, who specializes in consumer welfare issues related to smart mobile technology.
At King’s College, her research focuses on how consumers use apps and digital platforms, and the impact apps have on choice, spending and other aspects of consumers’ everyday lives.
dr. Kent is represented by Hausfeld & Co LLP, and Mark Hoskins QC, Jennifer MacLeod and Aaron Khan of Brick Court and Ronit Kreisberger QC of Monckton Chambers.
dr. Kent was also advised on the claim by an advisory group with expertise and experience in group claims management, digital markets and consumer rights.
This group includes Dame Elizabeth Gloster, a former judge on the Court of Appeals; James Walker, Scottish Government Adviser on consumer protection and founder of Resolver, which helps clients resolve complaints with companies; and Kevin Jenkins, former CEO of Visa UK.
But the latest analysis performed by The Washington Post, suggests that scammers are still a big problem.
Several apps were found to falsely present themselves, claiming to be linked to major brands such as Amazon and Samsung, while ‘fleeceware’ apps are also widespread.
These use fake customer reviews to artificially inflate their App Store rankings and trick consumers into paying higher prices for a service usually offered for free or cheaper by a lower-ranked app but with more legitimate customer reviews.
One QR code reader app, which is still in the App Store, forces customers to pay $4.99 per week for a service included in the iPhone camera app, according to the analysis.
An Apple spokesperson said: “We set high standards for developers to ensure that the App Store remains a safe and trusted place for customers to download software, and we will always take action against apps that harm users.
“Apple is an industry leader with practices that put the safety of our customers first, and we will continue to learn, develop our practices and invest the resources necessary to ensure that customers get the very best experience.”
Unlike other mobile operating systems, the App Store has no competition and is the only way to get apps on an iPhone or iPad.
Some experts argue that because Apple has a monopoly on how consumers access apps, there’s little reason for the company to spend money on improving them.
dr. Rachael Kent, a digital economics expert and lecturer at King’s College, London, has filed a £1.5bn lawsuit against Apple over claims it has violated UK competition law by ‘overcharging’ millions of people for using its apps.
The California-based tech giant is said to have deliberately excluded competition and instead forced people to use its own payment system.
Apple’s policy of collecting up to 30 percent commission on such transactions is “unjustified” and has generated “excessive” profits, the claim says.
dr. Kent said: ‘Thirteen years after launch, it’s… [the App Store] has become the single gateway for millions of consumers.
“Apple jealously guards access to the world of apps and charges completely unjustified entry and usage fees.
“This is the behavior of a monopolist and is unacceptable.”
Apple has faced lingering concerns about the anticompetitive nature of its App Store (stock)
Problem: Figures from the US tech giant, shown here in an image from the company, show the extent of App Store fraud. This is how Apple said it protected its users in 2020
Compensation of up to £1.5 billion is being sought – and as many as 19.6 million users in the UK may be eligible for compensation.
Commenting on the legal claim, Apple said: “We believe this lawsuit is unfounded and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate with the court our unwavering commitment to consumers and the many benefits the App Store has delivered to the UK’s innovation economy. to discuss.’
UK app developers raise more money in 2020
App developers have seen a boom in business due to the coronavirus pandemic, Apple revealed in March.
The tech giant, valued at more than $2 trillion, says revenues are up 22 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 for developers. Apple has not given exact figures for both years.
As a result, more than 330,000 Britons are now employed, at least in part, with money from the App Store. This figure is 10 percent higher than a year earlier, Apple claims.
Read more:British App Store developers are raising 22% MORE cash in 2020 than in 2019
Apple has tried to allay concerns about the commission in the App Store. Earlier this year, it halved the rate from 30 percent to 15 percent for smaller app developers.
But it has faced lingering concerns about the anticompetitive nature of its App Store.
In April, the European Commission said Apple had “abused its dominant position” in the distribution of music streaming apps.
Tackling the problem of scammers in a online message Last month, Apple said, “Threats have been around since the first day the App Store launched on iPhone, and have grown in both size and sophistication in the years since.
“Apple has also stepped up its efforts to address these threats and take relentless steps forward to combat these risks for both users and developers.”
The tech giant revealed that more than 180,000 new developers launched their first app on the App Store last year — and that there are now about 1.8 million apps for sale.
Of the one million malicious apps rejected or removed, 215,000 were rejected for privacy violations, while 48,000 were rejected for containing hidden or undocumented features.
Another 150,000 were rejected for spam, copycats or misleading users, while 95,000 were removed for ‘fraudulent violations’.
In addition to preventing $1.5 billion worth of fraudulent in-store translations, Apple said it prevented three million cards from being used to purchase stolen goods and services last year.