Apple, from this press release:
Threats have been present since the first day the App Store launched on iPhone, and they’ve increased in both scale and sophistication in the years since. Apple has likewise scaled its efforts to meet those threats, taking relentless steps forward to combat these risks to users and developers alike.
While it’s impossible to catch every act of fraud or ill intent before it happens, thanks to Apple’s industry-leading antifraud efforts, security experts agree the App Store is the safest place to find and download apps.
Unfortunately, sometimes developer accounts are created entirely for fraudulent purposes. If a developer violation is egregious or repeated, the offender is expelled from the Apple Developer Program and their account terminated. Apple terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020 and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns, preventing these bad actors from ever submitting an app to the store.
It’s an interesting read, but it’s a press release, so read with that in mind.
Now follow the headline link to John Gruber’s take:
There’s nothing curious about the timing of this post — it’s in response to some embarrassing stories about fraud apps in the App Store, revealed through discovery in the Epic v. Apple trial, and through the news in recent weeks. The fact that Apple would post this now is pretty telling — to me at least — about how they see the trial going. I think Apple clearly sees itself on solid ground legally, and their biggest concern is this relatively minor public relations issue around scam apps continuing to slip through the App Store reviewing process.
Apple is the richest company in the world. If they want to run the App Store with whatever-they-say-goes authority, why should we, as customers, demand anything less than perfection on the fraud and scam front? True perfection they’re never going to achieve, but it sure seems like Apple could be doing better than they are. And they know it.
Hard to argue with Gruber’s logic here. It does feel like Apple could be doing more, especially when they are being handed (from a number of developers) clear evidence of fraudulent apps that they did not catch.
I get that this is a complex problem, both in terms of sheer numbers, and in terms of determining the difference between greedy pricing and outright fraud. Hard, if not impossible, to automate this process.
I’ve said before, feels like Apple could build a team of trusted outsiders (members of the developer program, who’ve been vouchsafed already) who have already shown they can pick out App Store fraudsters that Apple’s review team did not catch. Build a bounty program, or pay them as consultants.