“Behave like a mafia”: Basecamp founder accuses Apple of forcing payment inside the app

The company threatened to remove the developer’s application if it does not start making payments through the Apple platform.

Ruby on Rails creator and Basecamp founder David Heinemeyer Hansson said that Apple refused to skip updates to its email client Hey until developers implement payment through the App Store. Otherwise, the company threatened to remove the application from the store.

Basecamp released the Hey email service on June 15th. Its main feature is the “smart” sorting of letters, which divides all messages into the categories of “important”, “feed” and “receipts”. The service costs $ 99 a year, but even in applications you need to subscribe through the Hey website – this is what caused the problems with the App Store.

“Like all good mafiosi, they called us on the phone. At first they said that breaking our windows (making it impossible to fix errors) is not a mistake. After that, without even looking at euphemisms, they said that they would burn our store (they will remove our application!) If we don’t pay ”

According to Hansson, Basecamp did everything it could to avoid restrictions. It is impossible to register in the iOS application, there is no mention of subscriptions and access to the payment interface. So the company wanted to bypass the commission of 15 to 30%, which Apple charges on all purchases within the application.

As explained in Apple, the company requires all developers to follow the rules of the App Store. According to the guidelines, the application must implement purchases within the application, even if it sells subscriptions or content elsewhere. In a conversation with Protocol, the company noted that the Hey app should not have been approved for the App Store from the start.

The founder of BaseCamp also added that Apple’s rules do not apply to all developers. Some companies are allowed to bypass the commission of the App Store: for example, Netflix turned off subscription payment in the app back in 2018, but it was not removed from the store. Apple also allows some “premium” content providers to avoid a one-time purchase fee in exchange for introducing all of Apple’s services to the app.

In March 2019, Spotify opposed Apple’s “unfair conduct” and complained to the European Commission. According to the head of the service, a “tax” of 30% forces other companies to set prices higher than those of Apple services, or to cover the difference from their own funds.

On June 16, the European Commission launched an investigation into Apple because of the rules of the App Store and the use of NFC in iPhones only for Apple Pay. The company called the complaints unfounded.

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