How about a small dose of controversy to spice up Tuesday? Well here it is – starring the App Store and Basecamp, developer of the new email application HEY.
In an interview with Protocol, the developer Zach Waugh (one of the directors of Basecamp) explained the imbroglio: the first version of HEY was approved on the App Store last week without major complications. The problems started last Monday, when the team submitted version 1.0.1 of the app for approval, containing only a few bugfixes.
This is a method used by certain platforms, such as Netflix and Spotify: by “bypassing” Apple’s payment system, developers are able to avoid paying 30% (or 15% in some cases) of subscription revenues to Apple. There is nothing irregular about it – the only thing Apple prohibits is that iOS apps contain links and notices directing users to subscriptions outside of their platform. HEY does not contain any such links, only a warning on the help page stating that it is not possible to subscribe within the app.
When denying version 1.0.1 of the application, the App Store team cited rule 3.1.1 of the platform and stated that, in order to offer paid services in applications distributed in the store, it was necessary to use the In-App Purchases iOS. Otherwise, the application could be removed completely from there.
David Heinemeier Hansson, CTO and founder of Basecamp, took to Twitter to express his indignation:
As mentioned by Hansson, Apple has been sailing in murky waters with its App Store policies for some time – so much so that today, after months of complaints from developers, the European Commission launched an investigation into the company and possible abusive practices .
Basecamp reiterated that it will not change its subscription policy, and the stalemate will therefore continue. We will have to wait and see if the app’s rejection will be maintained or if the Apple will go back.