Basecamp’s CTO classifies Apple as a «mobster» after an email client is rejected on the App Store

Apple definitely rejects the HEY app;  Phil Schiller says store rules won't change

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.

According to Waugh, Apple rejected the update because it violated the App Store’s terms of use. HEY is an email service that works only via subscription – a payment of $ 100 yearly. The point is that the application subscription is not available within the app: users need to perform the transaction on the HEY website and then log in to the application.

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:

Wow. I am literally amazed. Apple just reinforced its rejection of HEY and the introduction of bug fixes and new features, unless we submit to its absurd requirement of 15% to 30% of our revenue. Worse still: we are told that if we do not comply with the requirement, they will REMOVE OUR APP.

On the day that the European Union announced that it will investigate the abusive practices of the App Store, HEY became a victim of those same specious, exploitative and inconsistent extortion policies. It is evident that they are encouraged to tighten the screws without fear of regulatory consequences.

Like any good mobster, they visited us by phone. They said that, first of all, breaking our windows (by denying us the possibility of fixing bugs) was not a mistake. So, without even a courtesy euphemism, they said they would burn our store (ie remove our app) unless we paid.

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.

via iMore