It’s time for the offensive for Apple in the HEY litigation: version 1.0 of the email application should not have been validated, and future updates will not get the green light as long as the Basecamp publisher does not offer their subscription directly from the application. In other words, Apple wants its 30% commission (15% from the second year of subscription).
Basecamp received a very clear letter from the App Review Board, the body that appeals appeals from decisions of the App Store. The one formed by the publisher is rejected: ” the HEY app is presented as an email app, but when the user downloads it, it doesn’t work. The user cannot use the application to access his e-mails (…) unless he goes to the Basecamp site to buy a license [sic] which allows you to use the application “
HEY is therefore not considered to be a “reader” app as described in rule 3.1.3 (a) of guidelines, which allows platforms like Netflix, Spotify and Dropbox to bypass offering subscriptions from their applications. HEY is an app that requires the user to purchase to access functions, under section 3.1.1, and must therefore sell its subscriptions or purchases integrated with the billing system of the App Store.
Apple therefore advises Basecamp to offer support for IMAP or POP services, with the possibility of optionally configuring an address with the HEY service. Advice that falls completely flat, the very principle of HEY being precisely to offer an alternative to traditional email protocols.
Apple’s mail is very clumsy, or very cynical. The manufacturer writes that the applications developed by Basecamp over the past eight years do not offer any integrated purchase, and that therefore they have not contributed to the turnover of the App Store ? Coming from a company that weighs 1,500 billion dollars is quite special.
The emotion that this case arouses in developers, while Apple is the subject of a formal investigation by the European Commission on the practices of the App Store, is all the stronger as the WWDC begins next Monday. This is no doubt the reason why Phil Schiller – big boss of the App Store and marketing – went there from his text explanation to TechCrunch. Of course, he defends the company’s position: ” We are not considering any changes in the rules “
We are left with the status quo: ” There are many things [que Basecamp] can make their app work according to our rules. We would love them to do it ” He repeats that after downloading the app, nothing happens except the display of a connection panel, ” this is not what we want on the App Store ” However, this is what happens with Netflix, but the streaming platform is in one particular case: it is a “reader” app. ” Email is not and has never been an exception to this rule. “
In fact, the macOS version of HEY was rejected from the Mac App Store for the same reasons. The fact that the iOS app received the green light is ” a mistake “, He insists. On Mac, the Mac App Store is not the only software distribution channel: Basecamp can completely offer the software from its website. But it is impossible on iOS, since it is mandatory to go through the App Store.
As an alternative, Phil Schiller offers for example a free version of the app with basic functions, with the possibility of accessing more advanced functions to buy from the publisher’s website. Or even sell the subscription from the application, plus 30% paid by Apple … But is it the role of the manufacturer to define the economic model of an application?
This story takes a rather tasty, or ironic, turn when we hear Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft – the same company condemned for abuse of dominant position -, ask the American and European regulators to tighten the screw to the stores of distribution of applications . During an event organized by Politico, he deplored that these platforms ” impose requirements ”Which means that there is only one door to access it. ” In some cases, the price of the toll is very high, 30% of your income must be paid to the person responsible for the toll. “