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Life is generally pretty easy for Apple. Consumers love its products, which they continue to snap up at a rapid pace, and the company's iOS ecosystem is arguably the most impressive around.

But the past week has been anything but easy for the Cupertino-based tech giant.

As we reported yesterday, a nasty glitch was discovered after iOS apps downloaded through the App Store began to crash upon launch, creating bad experiences for app users and headaches for app developers.

Apple finally spoke out about the issue, and indicated that it resolved a problem "with a server that generated DRM code for some apps being downloaded." In an apparent effort to appease developers upset that their crashing apps were leading to negative App Store reviews, Apple basically found a way to minimize the prominence of those negative reviews.

While crashing apps are a big deal for obvious reasons, it would have been an easier week for Apple if it didn't also have to deal with a security and privacy-related issue.

As detailed by the Los Angeles Times, earlier this week, Apple company was dealt an embarrassing blow as reports surfaced indicating that the first malware app had slipped into the App Store. According to antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab, an app called Find and Call used data contained in users' address books to facilitate text message spam. The app also sought to collect data about users' social networks, email addresses and PayPal accounts.

So is the App Store, which is coming up on its fourth anniversary, finally starting to experience growing pains? While it's easy to brush off this week's events as overblown and suggest that Apple was the victim of bad timing, one thing is certain: with more than 650,000 apps, 30bn downloads and billions of dollars in revenue, the App Store ecosystem isn't going to run itself.

Increasingly, Apple will find itself facing greater threats and dealing with more significant risks, and given the App Store's size, when things do inevitably go wrong, the spotlight it finds itself in will necessarily be pretty bright.

Patricio Robles

Published 6 July, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)

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RedRapper

I wonder what negative impact "Find and Call" will have on other legitimate apps that have similar names and functions. Hopefully apps like ReadAndCall and others which are good don't receive unwarranted negative reactions. Many developers work hard to produce good Apps and one bad "apple" can ruin countless hours of good work.

about 4 years ago

Jeremy Spiller

Jeremy Spiller, MD at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

Patricio, good article and thanks for that. I reckon that if everyone is getting upset over a single app then maybe people need to take a deep breath. Having spent years keeping my various devices free from tens of thousands of viruses, trojans, scum-ware and all the rest using multiple apps to do so and bearing in mind the problems with the open nature of Android apps, while one app with malware is one app too many, this is far from evidence of a major problem with the Apps store.

Dave using your analogy this is like an apple grower finding one bad apple. I'm amazed that the problems are so few and infrequent.

As to the crashing app issue, again this sounds like it was identified the problem nailed and fixed. Again not good but after a couple of weeks of hearing about high street banks problems, again fairly small beer.

I guess as we all have to work with tech most of the time, stuff's going to go wrong.

Now about the need for nationwide free super-fast broadband...:)

about 4 years ago

Simon West

Simon West, Chairman at Nett Sales LLP

Jeremy, You're right, issues with App store can be accentuated, but then this is a "first", so it's bound to generate interest.

What will be interesting is whether Apple makes changes to its approval process for new and updated apps...

I get the impression that it's already quite tough to get an app approved and wonder if this is going to add more to the plate of app developers?

about 4 years ago

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