Developer of former number one paid iOS app sues Apple calling the App Store a monopoly
In one glaring example, Eleftheriou said that he had been approached by Apple’s head of mobile keyboard technology, Randy Marsden; the latter (who created the Swype keyboard) wanted to purchase FlickType to add a native QWERTY for the Apple Watch and improve typing on the device. When Eleftheriou turned down Apple, the latter refused to remove copycat and scam apps from the App Store. The court papers filed by FlickType’s developer suggests a reason why Apple turned the other cheek when FlickType was under attack from other apps. As Eleftheriou said, “Evidently, Apple thought Plaintiff would simply give up and sell its application to Apple at a discount.” Apple also removed the app from the App Store for a spell and rejected other versions of the app including a variant that takes notes. In turning down both versions of FlickType, Apple said that they turn the Apple Watch into a keyboard which the watch was not designed to be. However, over this time period, Apple allowed a competing app called “Shift Keyboard” to launch on the App Store. After months of appeals, Apple allowed FlickType back in the App Store. By then, Apple’s actions cost FlickType over a year of revenue according to the documents filed in court by Eleftheriou.
After getting approved by Apple, FlickTyping became the number one paid app in the App Store generating $130,000 in revenue during its first month. Even after proving itself, Apple failed to rid the App Store of copycats and scammers that went after the bullseye painted on FlickType’s back. These rivals used fake reviews to hike their ratings in Apple’s system and as stated in the complaint, “Apple did next to nothing despite its stated policies forbidding this precise type of unfair competition.”
Eleftheriou was involved in the creation of the Fleksy keyboard that set a world’s record for the fastest touch-screen text message. The Fleksy development team was sold to Pinterest and the complaint notes that Kosta walked away from millions of dollars in compensation from Pinterest to develop the first ever keyboard for the Apple Watch. He was drawn to the Apple Store by comments from Apple such as “We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for customers to download the apps they love and a great business opportunity for developers everywhere.” But the FlickType app did not get the “incredibly rapid adoption” and “the guidance and app review” that Apple promises.