Apple gave the green light to bug repairs to the Hey iOS app after its developer, Basecamp, complained about the unfairness of the rules governing the App Store but pledged to make changes to a new version of its app at the suggestion of an Apple executive.
Updates to the app were previously rejected, pending an argument over whether Basecamp had to provide a purchase option in the App Store.
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried wrote in the blog post, “a sincere thanks to Apple for their change of heart.” The dispute came as Apple’s yearly software conference starts on Monday (June 22).
Apple takes a 30 percent commission from services and product sales made via the App Store, a point of contention among app developers that is currently being investigated by the European Union. The bloc’s antitrust probe comes after companies such as Spotify and Rakuten put forward grievances over the commission.
Fried noted that Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller’s primary concern for Hey was that users “download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store.” In other words, users can’t utilize the app unless they pay for a subscription online outside of the app.
Schiller, however, later noted that Hey could have provided a complimentary or premium iteration with some reading features on the app store and then offered a premium offering that function with the app on iOS via the web. For now, users still have to buy a subscription through the web.
On Monday (June 22), Basecamp send in a new version to the App Store for review. The iteration includes a free tier of service inside iOS. Users can enroll in the service through the app with the revision for a complimentary @hey.com email address, which is assigned to them at random and functions for 14 days, according to a blog post by the firm.
Fried said in the post, “Think of it like a temporary SIM card you buy when traveling. Or for when you don’t want to give out your real email address, like a short term ‘for sale’ listing, like Craigslist does it.”
The EU has also opened an investigation into the tech giant’s Apple Pay offerings. European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said in a June 16 announcement, “We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s App Store rules and their compliance with EU competition rules.”