A developer and creator of a mobile-device keyboard interface for the blind have sued Apple Inc., stating that the company’s failure to police fraudulent knockoffs sold in the App Store penalizes honest developers.
The developer, Kosta Eleftheriou, has a long history of developing successful applications acquired by Apple, Google, and Pinterest. He stated that apparently, he struggled with the Cupertino giant to get permission to sell his FlickType in the App Store. However, the competitors quickly surfaced with poorly marketed products and didn’t work-stealing 80% of his revenue.
He blamed the iPhone maker for falsely advertising the App Store as a “safe and trusted source” of applications in his complaint filed on Thursday in a state court in San Jose, California.
“Despite possessing massive resources and technological savvy, Apple intentionally fails to police these fraudsters, costing honest developers millions, and perhaps billions, while Apple continues to amass huge profits for itself.”
According to sources, the developer left his job at Pinterest in 2017, and developed apps including FlickType that was designed to help visually impaired people use Apple Watch and iPhone keyboards.
In 2019, Eleftheriou was able to release a version of the app that enabled other developers to incorporate its gesture typing into their programs. According to the complaint, Apple sold applications that used the FlickType keyboard such as “Chirp for Twitter,” “Nano for Reddit,” “WatchChat for WhatsApp” and “Lens for Instagram,” but, the Cupertino giant refused to sell Eleftheriou’s FlickType as an independent app for the Apple Watch.
Then, in January 2020, after competitor applications had been sold for a year, Apple finally permitted the sale of FlickType and a related program, to be sold and It quickly became the App Store’s top paid program.