Apple Sued Not To Encourage Similar Third-Party Products In App Store

This Friday, Blix, the developer of applications such as Followapp and BlueMail, filed a revised indictment against Apple. The company indictment points out that there is new evidence that Apple has a preference for its own applications. That means it is not conducive to similar third-party products in the App Store.

Blix filed the document with the Delaware District Court. He also added more information to the October lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Apple’s “Login with Apple” feature infringed BlueMail‘s patent. In addition, Blix also accused Apple of implementing a monopoly in the App Store. That was done in order to crack down on third-party applications that compete with Apple Mail.

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The initial indictment alleges that the “login with Apple” feature copied BlueMail’s iconic “shared email” feature. The latter helps users to use manageable public interactive addresses for communication. It also helps to avoid the leakage of private interactive addresses. “Shared Email” generates a “reverse list” of contacts. This technology creates an electronic fence. That allows parties to send and receive messages to and from a single public account. That is without having to worry about leaking their private email addresses.

The “Sign in with Apple” feature provides similar tools to protect users from annoying email marketing. Apple’s solution provides an option called “Hide My Email.” When activated, this option generates a unique Apple hosted address for a specific application or web service, thereby hiding personal email addresses. The communication content sent to the generated address will then go to the personal account. The user can disable this relay address at any time.

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In addition to accusations of patent infringement, Blix also said that after BlueMail became more and more popular in the macOS App Store, Apple removed the application in May 2018. Apple said that the reason for the withdrawal was that BlueMail violated the App Store’s application review rules.  Then the company also said that BlueMail’s features overlapped with Blix’s TypeApp. But Blix said that TypeApp had been taken out of the App Store a few weeks ago after BlueMail was removed. However, Apple still insists that the app does not comply with developer rules.

The revised indictment states that Apple will accept “duplicate” applications from the same developer. Such duplications may exist in both form and function. For example, the macOS App Store offers very similar Telegram and Telegram Desktop applications.

Blix also pointed out another issue. That is, Apple recently decided that the company’s self-developed applications are not suitable for user evaluation systems. The indictment states that this policy means that the company does not have to face the impact of negative evaluations like other third-party applications.

Regarding the App Store’s monopoly behavior, Blix accuses that the iOS version of the App Store intentionally induces users not to choose third-party applications that compete with Apple’s own applications. For example, paid ads and App Store Stories make up a significant portion of search results pages. This is completely different from Google Play and Amazon Appstore. The latter two will directly display multiple options.

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