Compared to the lawless wilderness that is certain other app stores, Apple’s App Store is a well-regulated place, free from dodgy fake apps masquerading as the real thing.
Clearly someone in Cupertino got a little too merry with the egg nog recently, however, since a phony version of the Amazon Alexa app was recently granted permission to enter the App Store. It even managed to hit the #6 spot in the App Store’s utilities section over the holidays.
The app in question is called “Setup for Amazon Alexa.” It claims to “teach you how to correctly setup your device, and give you essential commands.” However, while it looks like it can guide you through the official installation process, as with Amazon’s official app, it actually does nothing.
On the plus side, it doesn’t appear to be a phishing exercise chasing after people’s Amazon usernames or anything sinister. It’s also free, meaning that you aren’t being bilked out of a couple of dollars (or more) for an app that doesn’t do what it says on the tin. But it’s definitely not the real thing — as revealed by the name of its developer One World Software.
Based on the fact that Amazon’s servers were apparently overloaded by the number of new Alexa speakers over Christmas, it seems that the holiday season was a good one for the world’s leading smart speaker brand. That would also explain how “Setup for Amazon Alexa” racked up so many downloads and reviews so quickly, even if most of the reviews point out the fraudulent nature of this app.
Hopefully Apple will take the proper steps to remove the app in the near future.