The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games continues to throw up interesting information about Apple's internal affairs, such as one employee's (apparently mistaken) understanding that management was strongly against the featuring of rival software on the App Store. The latest titbit is the revelation that Apple execs were aware of, and evidently horrified by, the existence of scam apps on its iOS platform as early as 2012.
In February 2012, reports AppleInsider, Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller sent an angry email to his colleagues in charge of the App Store - Greg Joswiak, Eddy Cue and Matt Fischer - about a fake or cloned version of the then popular App Store game Temple Run.
"What the hell is this???? How does an obvious rip off of the super popular Temple Run, with no screenshots, garbage marketing text, and almost all 1-star ratings become the #1 free app on the store?" Schiller wrote.
"Is no one reviewing these apps? Is no one minding the store?"
Schiller added that the situation was "insane".
Then and now, the App Store has consistently been able to boast of a higher overall standard and a lower incidence of malware than rival platforms such as Google Play. But despite Schiller's outrage, Apple hasn't come close to eliminating the spectre of cloning from the App Store; frequently, as with the sad case of Threes!, a game is rapidly cloned by flagrant copycats who then make far more money than the original, without having to put in a tenth of the effort.
There remains some hope that Apple Arcade, at least on the gaming side, will help to make original iOS software more commercially viable, since the curatorial approach means the company can pick and choose those developers that are pushing the medium forward rather than those which are just in it for a quick buck. It's no coincidence that Threes! is one of the games added to Arcade as part of a mass influx of classics in the spring of this year.
This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.