Apple defends app review & payments in response to Epic Games allegations

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

The tech giant Apple has defended its app review and in-app payment systems in a statement, claiming that they helped to prevent more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020.

The US-based company also revealed the number of apps it rejected from its App Store due to hidden or undocumented features, spam distribution, and misleading user experiences. Apple’s latest move comes in the midst of a legal battle with Fortnite creator Epic Games over alleged monopolistic actions that harm developers and suppress competition.

According to the company statement, “Last year, it’s App Store has rejected more than 48,000 apps for containing hidden or undocumented features, 150,000 apps for being spam, copycats, or misleading to users, and over 215,000 apps for privacy violations.”

In addition, the company claimed that it prevented over three million stolen cards from purchasing apps on the App Store and barred a million accounts from ever transacting again.

“It last year deactivated 244 million customer accounts and rejected 424 million account creations — all over fraudulent and abusive activities. The company also claimed that throughout the year, it terminated 470,000 developer accounts and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrolments over fraud concerns,” the tech giant added.

Despite regular terminations and rejections for additional enrollments, Apple has stated that it discovered and blocked nearly 110,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts that resemble popular apps but distribute malicious software or modify known apps without the permission of their developers. Last year, the App Store team also blocked 3.2 million apps distributed through its enterprise program.

“Apple’s goal is always to get new apps onto the store. In 2020, the team assisted more than 180,000 new developers in launching apps. Sometimes this takes a few tries,” the company said in the statement.

Last week, Epic Games has accused Apple of building its App Store as a “walled garden” in which it extracts money from both developers and users. This wasn’t, however, the first legal move against the iPhone maker.

Along with Epic Games, companies such as Spotify have accused Apple of establishing a monopoly through its App Store. Nonetheless, the Tim Cook-led company claims that it “works around the clock and behind the scenes to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for users and developers alike.”

Related: New privacy controls: Apple says impact will depend on how developers ask for permission