Speaking about third party developers. In the week leading up to WWDC. It seems Apple hasn’t had a good week around the App Store Guidelines. First the EU opens antitrust investigations in regards to the Apple App Store rules. Secondly it got in to quite a public fight regarding the approval and following update rejection of the new email app ‘Hey’.
My first reaction was that Hey must be doing something wrong, they were probably advertising how to get a subscription outside of the App Store. Turns out that isn’t the case. The help screen explains you need an account. It doesn’t even open a Webview with the website in it.
Trying to join HEY?
You can’t sign up for HEY in the app. We know that’s a pain. After you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to use the app.
Need help from a person?
Send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll get right back to you.
So over the past few days this blew up to the point that Phil Schiller also commented on this in the news.
Apple also released the full rejection they sent Basecamp (the makers of Hey) which goes in to some options in how they could get it approved. The last paragraph of that email is a punch in the gut for most Apple developers in the community.
“Thank you for being an iOS app developer. We understand that Basecamp has developed a number of apps and many subsequent versions for the App Store for many years, and that the App Store has distributed millions of these apps to iOS users. These apps do not offer in-app purchase – and, consequently, have not contributed any revenue to the App Store over the last eight years. We are happy to continue to support you in your app business and offer you the solutions to provide your services for free – so long as you follow and respect the same App Store Review Guidelines and terms that all developers must follow.”
So let’s go back to my previous post where I talked about Broadcasts. Apple needs third party developers, it challenges them, and keeps pushing them forward. I hope this public spat will lead to some changes that are in the best interset of consumers, developers and in the long term also Apple.