I haven’t written much about EFF’s work on competition, and I’ve been hoping to do so for a while. I noticed the recent fight between HEY and Apple’s App Store, and it’s such a perfect example of where the current system fails innovators and the public. You can also read the full post on EFF’s Deeplinks blog.
Just as the service was launching, the HEY developers found the new release of the app—which included important security fixes—was held up over a purported violation of the App Store rules. Specifically, Developer Rule 3.1.1, which states that “If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase.” Apple alleged that HEY had violated this rule by pushing users to pay for its email service outside of the crystal prison of the App Store.
Basecamp’s CTO David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted:
But many apps—like Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle —follow this same payment pathway, with users setting up accounts directly through a website and then logging into that paid account via an app in the Apple App Store. And it’s no wonder that tech companies balk at the idea of following App’s store payment pathway—as the BBC reports, Apple takes a cut of all in-app payments, often as much as 30%.