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David Vs. Goliath: Greek App Developer Takes on Apple

Greek developer Apple
Kostas Eleftheriou has taken Apple to court. Credit: LinkedIn/Illustration by Greek Reporter

Greek app developer Kostas Eleftheriou filed a lawsuit recently against tech giant Apple for using its monopoly power over iOS apps to make billions at the expense of small developers.

Eleftheriou, who is behind the popular Apple Watch keyboard app FlickType for the visually impaired, filed a complaint against the Cupertino giant in a California state court in February.

The Greek developer wrote a scathing Twitter thread on the current state of the App Store. In it, he criticized Apple for not properly enforcing App Store rules, which has allowed several scam and clone apps to coexist with perfectly legitimate apps in an environment that’s supposed to prevent that from happening.

Furthermore, some of these apps reach high enough annual revenues to make it to the top of the App Store, which at first glance makes it seem as though Apple is tolerating them. Despite their fraudulent nature, most of these apps have glowing reviews and five-star ratings.

Some don’t even work as advertised, despite promising the same functionality as legitimate apps like FlickType, while effectively chipping away revenue from legitimate developers.

FlickType can speak back to you when you type or edit, enabling a completely eyes-free writing experience. People who are blind write millions of words every month using it, typing just as fast as everyone else.

It also claims that users type a whole three to four times faster compared to the standard keyboard, VoiceOver typing, or even dictation after edits. And utilizing the standard QWERTY layout means users don’t have to learn a new way to type.

Apple did remove the apps that were mentioned in Eleftheriou’s story, including 77 scam apps made by a developer that has been in operation since 2019.

The company also released a public statement reiterating its commitment to keeping the App Store clean, as well as claiming it had terminated over half a million developer accounts and removed over 60 million spam user reviews.

Eleftheriou was not entirely happy with the response, however. While Apple did remove some fraudulent apps from its marketplace, it left many more untouched. As a result, Eleftheriou decided to file the complaint.

The developer offers a detailed view of what he believes to be wrongful behavior from the iPhone maker, which includes fraud, false advertising, and breach of developer agreement.

Notably, he claims Apple had tried to acquire FlickType in 2019, but quickly turned quiet after Eleftheriou updated the app to cater to a more general audience.

Eleftheriou and his partner Ashley are a couple that’s been teaming up in the startup world for almost a decade.

He describes himself as “passionate about the novel user interfaces of tomorrow, and seeking creative solutions to the tough problems of today.”

Writing on LinkedIn, he says he enjoys “turning an idea into reality through research, prototyping, and scaling.”

“Three of the companies I founded have been acquired by Google, Pinterest, and Formax Group,” Eleftheriou adds.

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