Global Column | Is Apple taking responsibility for the app store ecosystem?

Often, the greatest strength is the greatest weakness. This also works for Apple.

The iPhone is a product that has grown Apple rapidly, but without the ecosystem surrounding the iPhone, especially the App Store, this growth might not have been possible. It seems safe to say that the success of the app ecosystem on iOS exceeded Apple’s expectations. The word “there’s an app for that” symbolizing the app store has become the spirit of the smartphone era.

However, the app store has become the biggest challenge when it comes to relationships with competitors and developers. In the last one or two years, this task has become more prominent, and it has deteriorated the image of Apple, which was close to’noble idealism’.

What happened to the App Store? Can I fix it? Or is it going according to Apple’s intentions?


From malicious apps to fake ratings

Costa Elefteriu is the developer of the QWERTY keyboard for the Apple Watch called FlickType. Over the past few weeks, Eleftherio has pointed out a number of problems with the App Store through Twitter. These include imitation apps (and even the promotional element), scam apps that don’t offer any features and pay a subscription fee, and how easy it is for unscrupulous developers to pay for ratings.

In particular, fake ratings are a big problem. This is because it is reflected in the algorithm that determines the app’s search results and popularity ranking. Not only do consumers pay for bad apps, but it also results in normal developers being buried by scammers who abuse the app store’s rating system. Addressing this issue should be a top priority by expanding the staff monitoring the system or introducing machine learning to filter out fake ratings.

On the other hand, developers trying to develop the app ecosystem will be notified that they have violated the rules due to small things, such as the command-line experience in their apps or mislabeled, due to Apple’s tricky rules. In most cases, the decision is reversed, but this’stuck stone’ is a factor that frustrates normal developers in a situation where apps that are obviously malicious pass Apple’s review.

It’s certainly not easy to manage an app store with millions of apps registered. Even the meticulous app review process can sometimes’crack’. Apple recently told The Verge that in 2020 it had closed more than 500,000 developer accounts due to fraud and removed more than 60 million reviews that were considered spam. According to the BBC, the number of registered developer accounts as of 2020 is 28 million, and it is not known how many fraudulent developer accounts remain.

These challenges are’reality’, but it’s worth remembering that Apple is a company with more than $110 billion in revenue in the last quarter. It is difficult to argue that there are no resources to improve the process. The real question is whether it’s worth it.

The irony of app store sales growth

Here, the’dichotomy’ appears. In this war, the App Store has two sides. It is’image’ and’growth’. In an ideal world, the two are in perfect harmony. The higher the quality of the app store, the better it will perform.

Despite the aforementioned challenges, the App Store continues to grow in blockbuster scale. On the one hand, this could mean that it still works the way Apple and its consumers expect. This is because, in most cases, app store users do not regularly experience or at least be unaware of these issues.

However, there is also a problem that blockbuster growth rewards Apple regardless of’source’. The number of apps in the App Store boosts Apple’s service revenue, just like social media that keeps content controversial because “high engagement” means “success”.

A scam app that receives money from consumers without providing any functionality, pays Apple a 30% commission just like a legitimate app. When Apple detects a scam app, it will give a refund to the person who bought the app, but given the fact that these scam apps appear over and over again, it’s like making money for scammers. It doesn’t look good.


However, it is not that there is very little hope. At the end of last year, Apple launched the App Store Small and medium-sized developer support programLaunched. For developers whose annual revenue is less than $1 million, it cuts app store fees to 15%. There are some criticisms, but on a larger scale, it’s the right path, and it shows hope that Apple can make changes, not just complain.

In other words, it shows that Apple isn’t just focusing on making money with the app store. Of course, given the profit caps of the developers that benefit, the impact of this program on Apple’s revenue is probably low. But anyway, Apple could have kept a 30% fee for all apps if it wanted.

It seems obvious that Apple is aware of the difficulties in PR activities related to the App Store. In 2015, Apple’s head of product marketing, Phil Schiller, took over from a colleague, Eddie Q, to lead the app store. Although Schiller recently stepped down from the role of head of marketing, the App Store is still his responsibility, suggesting that Apple continues to be interested in the App Store’s image. In order to achieve the App Store’s mission of creating a safe place for people to find great software, efforts for this image will have to lead to real change. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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