Apple’s App Store ‘breaking at the seams’, says former marketing director

App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

Apple’s former Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing, Michael Gartenberg, has said the companies “often praised” App Store is “breaking at the seams” in his opinion.

Gartenberg made the comments in a tweet Friday which reads:

I believe @keleftheriou has brought an important issue about the App Store to a mainstream audience. I hope Apple gets its act together soon. The ecosystem that is often praised is breaking at the seams IMHO

The “important issue” is a reference to recent work from FlickType founder and developer Kosta Eleftheriou to highlight apps on the App Store that breach Apple’s rules and guidelines, often scamming users out huge sums of money. From a report this week:

Apple has removed a children’s platform game from its App Store that turned out to be a front for an online casino.

The app was highlighted by Kosta Eleftheriou on Twitter, as part of a wider project to highlight the App Store might not be as safe and secure as Apple would have users believe. From his tweet:

This AppStore app pretends to be a silly platformer game for children 4+, but if I set my VPN to Turkey and relaunch it becomes an online casino that doesn’t even use Apple’s IAP.

Jungle Runner 2k21 is just one of a number of apps highlighted by Eleftheriou in recent weeks. Others include a rip-off Eleftheriou’s own FlickType app that charged users $400 for subscriptions.

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Why it matters

Gartenberg’s comments in support of Eleftheriou’s work come at a particularly awkward time for Apple. Not only is Apple gearing up to host its April event on Tuesday, where it is expected to release a slew of new products such as an iPad Pro and AirTags, it is also about to enter the legal fight of its life against Epic Games regarding its App Store policies on iOS. A key argument of Apple’s is that its App Store is a safe, secure marketplace that users can trust with their payment information, and more importantly where they can trust Apple to protect from malicious content. From an Apple court filing:

Apple’s policies and rules for its App Store do nothing to dampen the viability of the alternative Android platform or deprive consumers of their option to choose that alternative platform. The but-for worlds of Dr. Evans and Professor Athey, on the other hand, would deprive all consumers of the option of choosing the platform where Apple takes responsibility for the safety, security, and privacy preservation of users.

Many in favor of Epic’s cause, including Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, argue that the persistence of poor quality apps created for the sole purpose of scamming users is proof that Apple’s App Store is not as secure as it would have us believe and that subsequently, it cannot argue that more App Stores or a practice like sideloading would make iOS less secure.