Apple Caves On In-App Payments Mandate For WordPress

Apple has backed down and apologized after it found itself in yet another controversy this weekend over its App Store, Bloomberg News reported.

It started on Friday (Aug. 21) when WordPress founder Matt Mullenwag tweeted that his app, which hosts blogs, had been locked out of the App Store. The restriction prevented WordPress from updating its iOS app.

To get access, Apple said it wanted a 30 percent cut of WordPress’ in-app sale; the App Store is where Apple makes much of its $50 billion per year services business, the news service reported.

But WordPress, which is free, did not include any in-app purchases.

An Apple spokesman said the controversy has been settled.

“We believe the issue with WordPress app has been resolved,” Apple said. “Since the developer removed the display of their service payment options from the app, it is now a free stand-alone app and does not have to offer in-app purchases. We have informed the developer and apologize for any confusion that we have caused.”

Apple said Friday that WordPress sought an app update that would have allowed customers to buy upgraded plans — but not through in app-purchases.

But Mullenweg disputed Apple’s claims, saying the company’s update didn’t add a purchasing functionality. Instead, he said Apple rejected the app for a decade.

“We will continue to be responsive and do our best to be within both the spirit and letter of the App Store rules, including closing any webview loopholes that pop up,” Mullenweg said in a tweet on Saturday, Bloomberg reported. “I am very grateful that folks at Apple re-reviewed @WordPressiOS and have let us know we do not need to implement in-app purchases to be able to continue to update the app. Bad news travels faster than good, usually, so please consider sharing that they reversed course.”

Last week, Fortnite app maker Epic Games filed suit against Apple after the North Carolina game maker provided users with a way to purchase digital items directly from the company at a discount, sparing the company Apple’s 30 percent commission. In response, Apple removed the app from its App Store, alleging a rules violation.

“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100 percent monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic Games wrote in the legal filing.

In response to the complaint last week, Apple argued Epic Games violated Apple’s rules and should be prohibited from its store until the legal battle is resolved.




The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.