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Coronavirus app rejected: developer sued Apple

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Apple’s rejection of a coronavirus app violates competition law, says the developer. The iPhone group is abusing its app store monopoly.

Apple’s control over app sales for iPhones is causing a new legal dispute : The rejection of its coronavirus app last spring was inadmissible, argues an app provider in its lawsuit filed with a US court (Coronavirus Reporter vs. Apple, United States District Court for the New Hampshire District, file number 1: 21-cv -00047).

Developer: “Meaningful apps” must be approved

Apple is allowed to carry out quality control of apps but “useful apps” do not deny access to the iPhone, writes the plaintiff. With such refusals, Apple is preventing users from accessing the open Internet via apps, thereby violating US competition law. Due to the in-house interface for corona encounter messages, Apple is also in competition with third-party developers for corona apps, according to the lawsuit.

Apple had started the content in March 2020 filter in his store around coronavirus and Covid-19. Initially, the search results showed games related to viruses and apps for food storage as well as other applications that apparently wanted to gain better visibility with the corresponding keywords. Since then, Apple has only allowed apps related to the coronavirus that come from “recognized institutions” – such as authorities or hospitals – that should contain incorrect information.

Corona apps only allowed from official bodies

Apple has also rejected its app called “Coronavirus Reporter” with reference to this rule, the developer writes in the Lawsuit – although doctors also belong to the own team and other competing apps have been approved. Coronavirus Reporter apparently saw itself as a kind of crowd-sourcing tool where users should publish symptoms and location. Apple also complained that the information collected by users was not checked by a recognized source, the developer said. He is demanding compensation and an order prohibiting Apple from banning access to “meaningful apps”.

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