The majority of them are companion apps for physical products/memberships for which the rules around in-app purchases do not apply: Tesla, Soho House, Wells Fargo, Blue Cross / Blue Shield, WeWork.
Github has a free tier and doesn't require a paying membership to use.
Netflix is a digital content app for which there is a specific exemption under rule 3.1.3(a).
Bloomberg and Salesforce might also fall under the 3.1.3(a) exemption for "access to professional databases", I'm not sure.
App Store Connect is their own app. Apple's apps have always been able to use private APIs and do other things the rest of us can't.
The only other app in this list that is actually similar to Hey in terms of product type and monetization is Fastmail. (And it looks like Fastmail was recently asked to add IAP to their app as well.)
The rules around in-app purchases have been well known for a long time (by iOS devs at least, clearly not by the general public or even tech people).
Releasing an app that does not follow the rules and then publicly complaining when it is inevitably rejected is starting to seem more like a guerrilla marketing tactic more than anything else. (And a clever one too, I don't think yet-another-email-app would have gotten nearly the same amount of press coverage that this has.)
Part of the whole point is the relation to the quote at the start.
In every one of those apps signing up "doesn't work" which goes against the stated goal of ensuring that users can download the app and expect it work. How can it work if you can't even sign into it because you can't sign up for it and they can't even tell you how to.
This whole website is a strawman built against the false claim that you're not allowed to require a login to access your app, which has never actually been true.
It's about the policy creating the trend of apps that don't work in that you can't sign up on them.
You get the first, then sign up on the website or android app.
Update: I just double checked. The Wells Fargo Android app and Wells Fargo iOS apps behave identically. You are immediately presented with a login screen upon launch. There is no signup flow inside either app but you can click a link that opens a web browser with a link to the registration page.
Your claim that the App Store policy is responsible for this trend does not hold up, considering the Android version is not subject to the same policy but behaves the exact same way anyway.
Update 2: Checked a few more apps. The Android versions of Github and Fastmail don't allow you to sign up in the app either. You are only presented with a login screen just like the iOS versions.
Don't remember if they had a link for signups before though, just pointing out that you can't deduce that point from given facts.
(Nor is there proof for the original thesis, it's all speculation at this point)
To circle back to the original point, blaming Apple for the "trend" of not being able to sign up inside of apps is clearly nonsensical.
Yeah, the first few items on the list were relatively convincing, but the convincing-ness takes a nosedive further down the list. I mean, who in their right mind would compare hey to a companion app for a car?
Are the rules overly restrictive? Yes. Due they place an unfair burden on third party developers? Probably. But let's not pretend they are a mystery.
Everything I look at on my smartphone is digital content.
Sending email is distribution of “digital content”.
This old game of wobbly semantics to describe “organizing electrons in silicon” is pretty much done isn’t it?
Society has hit an information entropy. Where the masses get one message “austerity” while the elites tirelessly bike shed the rules, struggling to maintain their old epistemology as they die off from natural causes, which is extinguishing their norms instead.
Varoufakis is right: leadership of the old generation is out of net new ideas and has us nickle and diming old ones to keep up the ruse.
Their only endgame, which isn’t driven by more than an intuition, is keep the hierarchy story looking like it did decades ago.
This is just biological survival instinct. There’s absolutely no real reason to carve up “digital content” into more than electrons zipping through silicon, except for financial Machiavellianism.
And be sure to do it right before WWDC. We've seen this play before.
For example: you weren't allowed to show device bezels in app store screenshots for a long time, even though all the major apps did exactly that. If you were a small time developer though you would get rejected, sometimes, with that cited as a reason. There's currently the same problems with asking for app reviews. Everyone wants to filter users through the "do you like the app? Yes/No" popups to try and make sure only good reviews get through. It's explicitly stated in the app store guidelines that you have to use the system provided prompt that doesn't allow for that, but it's only selectively enforced. So if your competition is filtering reviews but you aren't allowed to, you're at a huge disadvantage. And there's plenty of other ambiguous rules like that. In app purchases being a major one. You could have your app on the store for a year and then suddenly get a rejection notice on a bugfix update that they don't like your payment setup.
Point is: Apple will do absolutely whatever they want, and you have zero recourse. If you're a small developer it can kill you. Plenty of people will say "just follow the rules and you won't have a problem", but the rules are arbitrary and selectively enforced. For example, there was the Steam Link app debacle that Apple decided to reject after it's big release, and they literally just wrote new rules to exclude it. And if they allowed alternative app stores I think you could excuse a lot of it. But they don't. And they never will unless they are forced to.
Our now-shuttered startup Gliph brought in-app Bitcoin transfers to the App Store for the first time in 2013. Apple allowed the behavior for seven months before I got a call telling me it had to be removed.
Bitcoin was hot enough that our blog post generated a fair amount of press for our little startup.  and I also published the company's appeal publicly.
However, I did so with great trepidation about angering someone at Apple. 
Our approach did not seem to help things at all, though Apple did end up allowing the Bitcoin transfers to be brought back about 7 months later.
One thing I find notable about this site and Hey!'s behavior on this is the scorched earth approach to the response. Basecamp seems ready, to go to "thermonuclear war" (as Jobs would say) on this one. People are hearing about Hey alright.
Hey's little mini site is convincing enough and it broadly escalates things. Particularly by using John Gruber's words against Apple, ouch!
This situation opens an unnecessary and distracting attack surface for Apple, in advance the most important developer event possibly in a decade.
Apple should have just let this app do its thing.
This whole situation reminds me of how Apple tried to make Apple Store employees pay for the time they were getting their bags searched. Bad PR that should never have happened. 
everybody roots for david vs goliath, but the story would change if goliath was actually defending the little guy.
maybe make in-app purchases cheaper for smaller apps.
or do something to take small reasonable developers under their wing. like first year 10%.
Another thing they could do, sort of the opposite, is to take 30% for smaller apps, but have a published scale as volume increases. presumably with scale apples costs would amortize, and developers would be in for the long haul.
They could also maintain 30% if a particular app has lots of chargebacks, like you would have with abusive apps.
There's a github link at the bottom. Doesn't look to me like there is any affiliation with Basecamp.
Edit: Your point still stands, however. DHH made it pretty clear when we said they'd burn it all down. (Don't remember the exact quote)
No affiliation with Basecamp.
I think the inverse to "Apple employed humans make a judgement call" is "Apple is no longer allowed to control their App Store". I don't like that option, because the curated App Store is a big reason why I bought an iPhone.
This is not my argument. It is not just inconsistent, it is selective. Major players are given far more leeway than small ones. There are obvious antitrust concerns, such as Spotify being required to give Apple 30% of it's revenue for it's service that competes with Apple Music. There are concerns about freedom of speech and information, such as Apple removing an app that notified the user when there was a U.S. drone strike, or the Hong Kong protest app that China pressured them into removing. Or blocking all VPN apps in China.
And even if the argument at the end of the day is "I don't care; I like having a curated app store", why does that imply that Apple should be able to force users into only using theirs? How do you lose anything if users are allowed to install apps from other places, in some cases where there are serious human rights issues at stake?
The 30% fee drops to 15% after one year, and Spotify hasn’t accepted IAP in several years, so everyone paying for Spotify through Apple is paying the 15% rate.
I do think larger clients should reasonably pay lower rates, as there’s a more equal/symbiotic value proposition between the two parties.
I think if the fees were split out people would lose their minds on more expensive apps because they'd recognize it isn't good value. Ex:
Hey: $70 / year
App Store Fee: $30 / year
Also, did Hey get the prices wrong or are they talking about keeping the prices the same and eating the 30%? If they want $99 in their pocket, they need to charge ~43% more. Assuming Apple takes 30% of the sale price:
- 99 * 1.43 = $141.57
- 141.57 * .3 = $42.47 for Apple
- 141.57 * .7 = $99.10 for Hey
So by taking 30% of revenue, it increases prices by 43% because if someone is taking 30% of your revenue, you need to increase your prices by 43% to break even.
You can have a curated app store but still...not gatekeep what software the user can install. Installs via web pages, app store listings that are deprioritized or hidden from the default search view. I'd go so far as they should be legally compelled to do that at a bare minimum.
There are myriad apps that users wanted, but Apple nixed them. Whether it's shady rentseeking like the Hey instance or content they find objectionable. How many times have social media sites like Tumblr or Reddit had to deal with their pearl-clutching over nudity? Screw them, they have no right. I can't even imagine how miserable desktop computing would be if that were the paradigm over the last 30 years.
I think the right alternative is "Users should have a choice of app stores"
An app to manage your Tesla makes no sense unless you own a Tesla. You probably (definitely?) created an account when you ordered your car, so you don't need to sign-up in app. I suppose people that could buy a used Tesla without a Tesla account, but I'm pretty sure you need to link the used car to a new account before you can manage it through the app with the new account, so it still doesn't make sense to offer in-app signup. I see no issue with the Tesla app being approved.
Some of the other apps do seem to be legitimate complaints. Netflix being an obvious one- it's totally plausible for someone to expect to download Netflix on their iPad and then pay through Apple. Netflix could easily offer that but doesn't (probably because of the 30% cut). Apple would gladly reject a smaller app, but they approve Netflix because too many users would complain if they couldn't get Netflix on their iPad.
Edit: one other thing I haven't seen whether Basecamp could just charge $141.43 per year if someone pays through Apple, so Basecamp would get $99 per year after Apple takes their 30% cut. They are allowed to offer outside subscriptions for multiplatform products, as long as those subscriptions are also available in-app. That seems like it would follow Apple's rules. People that don't care about money could sign up in-app, but most people will sign up outside the app.
>People that don't care about money could sign up in-app, but most people will sign up outside the app.
The problem is that the iOS app cannot in any way or form mention that a) you can pay for the subscription outside the application b) the price of the subscription outside of the application is different than inside the application.
Thanks. Having to hide the difference from customers is worth the fight IMHO.
There's been couple of times when I've eaten the markup that comes with paying through Apple simply because that means that I can go into my iTunes subscriptions page, hit the "stop" button on it, and it's done. No buried unsubscribe links, no "tell us why you're leaving" quiz, no disputing charges on my card. It's done and over and I don't ever have to think about it again.
If third-party payment services become the norm on the App Store, I expect a steep decline in quality of unsubscribe experiences across the board.
But even with Tesla it's not 100% crystal clear. There might be some buyers who pick Tesla specifically because of the fancy tech features like Summon mode. It's impossible to use Summon mode without the app. So for one of those buyers, the app is an essential part of the purchase, just like HEY subscribers who expect to read emails on their phone.
I can still drive a Tesla without the app. It's clear that the core product is car, not the app. Some people may have bought it because of a defining feature, but you are not paying $80k for Summon mode. You are paying $80k for a car that has Summon mode.
Wells Fargo offers almost all of their functionality through physical branches and ATMs. Having an app is just a feature, a bank account is clearly not an app.
I cannot use Netflix without an app or browser on my TV, phone, tablet, or computer. There are movies stored on servers, but I'm not paying $15/month unless I can watch movies. That means Netflix's core product is an app and per Apple's rules they should offer in-app purchases.
WeWork is a little harder for me. They are a real estate company but I'm not sure you could call WeWork and get a workspace over the phone nor could you do it in person (you can call a landlord directly, but that is not WeWork's product). I think their core product is that you can book a space online or with an app. I think they need to have in-app signup and purchases.
Github is the most gray one for me- once setup, I use it mostly through the command line. I could claim that the core product is not an app, but I don't honestly believe that. I use a significant part of GitHub's feature set through the browser (discovering repositories, clicking through links to read about a package before cloning it).
Or imagine a cloud-based e-book service that you can just SSH into. Should Apple allow apps marketed simply as SSH clients, but not allow an SSH client branded with that e-book service?
Most of these products are not clients. A client is something like an RSS reader, where one company makes app but interact with services/products from other companies. Netflix does not sell you a subscription to watch movies and then allow you to watch it with third-party apps. They do not expose .mp4 files, so saying "if they did this" isn't relevant. They try their hardest to force you to watch with their app.
Overall, your arguments are silly. People have common sense and can use it. Using misdirection in your words doesn't change what the functionality of the product is. Coming up with strange corner cases that don't exist and aren't viable products aren't good examples. Until an actual commercial e-book service that functions through SSH exists then Apple doesn't need to waste their time addressing it.
But I think that's pretty clearly not the case, and moreover, I think people might be just as upset if Apple's policies said "we just use our common sense to classify apps and determine which features they can use on our platform" and then appeared to apply those determinations inconsistently.
My Model X does summon using only the keyfob.
For Model 3 owners without a keyfob (it's an optional extra) - yeah, I'll give you that.
To use the service, you have to use a mobile app (or web app), the service won't let you access via POP/IMAP.
This is far from ideal for two reasons:
1) Some users will be paying 30% more just because they signed up in the app. How is this a good experience that protects the user?
2) most importantly, Basecamp loses the ability to manage the financial aspects of the customer relationship. They’re unable to give discounts, credit, refunds, add time to the subscription etc. It’s a hassle for all the back office management as now some customers come through a completely different billing + subscription platform.
I want to start by saying I think Apple is overstepping their bounds here and has been for years. But one reason I like the app store is because companies are generally terrible stewards. For example, I took my car to the dealer and the next week I get post cards for XM Radio (I will continue to get them for months because this has happened before). A few years ago I had a reoccurring donation to a popular Public Radio show. I was changing credit cards and was trying to update the subscription. There was no way to update it on their website or contact them to update (which included canceling). I sent email with no response. I ended up cancelling the card and with it my subscription. I'm now very skeptical about services that manage reoccurring payments.
> Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc.
> In limited circumstances, such as when features are dependent upon specific hardware to function, the app may unlock that functionality without using in-app purchase[...] You may not, however, require users to purchase unrelated products or engage in advertising or marketing activities to unlock app functionality.
I just had a vision of Apple demanding 30% of the cost of each Tesla sold.
Can anyone explain why some apps are mobile only, like the Shop app? I have not tried it yet as a result. Also, does Apple take a cut of those sales?
How should Apple go about making money from the App Store? Paid apps are dwindling off. They do charge a flat fee per developer, but it can’t be too large or they’ll lose all the indie developers, and there just aren’t enough developers overall to make that a viable business on its own. They could charge a flat fee to the developer per app download -- something really small, a few cents per download -- but then what about free apps?
What they want is to take a share of the profits from developers who are making money on their platform, while also supporting free apps free of charge. The 30% fee is their attempt to do that. The problem is that it’s easy to game the system and just run your payments outside their store. Hence all the silly rules to try to prevent that.
Maybe 30% is just too much. Would people complain as much if it were 10%, or 5%?
Or maybe they should just give up on App Store revenue and focus on hardware sales. But it would be a little weird for them not to have a direct incentive to improve the store experience for users.
Or Apple could drop the charade and charge users for access to apps based on whatever pricing scheme they want.
The promotions one is interesting; I think it has the same pitfall as AdWords: if my app / web page is the best result for the user for a given search, why should I have to pay money to promote it? If Apple or Google is doing their job right, taking money for promotions is actively detrimental to users. Not that that stops AdWords, of course.
Charging the users would make sense. It’s a shame that we’ve all been trained to expect this stuff to be free.
I guess subscription-based stores are a decent approach? Like Apple Arcade. But that has downsides for users too -- you potentially end up paying multiple subscriptions (like most people do now for streaming TV) so it adds barriers to entry for new (possibly better) stores. Who wants to pay for yet another subscription service?
It's less risky to develop some skinner box slot machine because you aren't out much investment if it gets rejected. Plus, the digital goods are pulled from thin air, so anything you sell is pure profit.
Contrast that with a real app that provides a valuable service with backend costs and a subscription fee. There's a lot more investment to build an app like that, so getting rejected is a huge risk and, even at 15%, Apple's cut might be a big chunk of your margin.
Since Apple incentivizes low effort slot machines and detriments high quality apps, I feel like there's been an increasing portion of the app store is turning into what I consider garbage apps.
The subscription cut also creates the opposite scenario of what everyone is always parroting about iOS customers being profitable. They might spend more money, but they're definitely not more profitable (per customer) if you're paying 15% to a middleman.
I tried to limit the list to apps where you couldn't get to _any_ functionality without logging in. AirBnB lets you browse around etc. Airlines let you look at dates / availability.
I included Wells Fargo, however, because I thought it was wild that they're able to provide straight web links to Safari to sign up for banking services, whereas Hey has to pretend like accounts are bestowed via divine intervention.
Why, then, did Apple decide to gerrymander its rules to extract rent from one industry and not the other?
Perhaps there's an ethical or philosophical argument why Apple feels entitled to one industry's revenue and not the other, but I haven't heard that argument.
I'm confused why they don't rip the bandaid off and just charge everyone at the same time though. Charging Tesla 30% probably isn't feasible but this seems like an ideal time to introduce fees for all companies that are currently allowed exemptions (Netflix, Lyft, Airbnb, Uber, Audible, Airlines etc). Yes they could put up a fight but at least some of them would cave.
Until the government gets involved, they are totally allowed to selectively and arbitrarily enforce the rules. Banning Hey but not Netflix just makes them look like hypocrites and makes them less money. Seems like the worst of both worlds.
Since cars are physical goods, Tesla COULD freely sell the car in the app using Apple Pay, Credit Card, etc in the app if they wanted, just like Amazon, Walmart and other e-commerce apps do. They wouldn't pay the 30%, just the credit card fee.
Similarly, Lyft, Airbnb, Uber and some Airlines accept ApplePay, Credit Card, etc, all without the 30%, because it's a physical service, not software or a digital product.
Netflix and Audible just don't sell their stuff on the app. It's not an exemption, it's something predicted in the App Store terms: don't link to the signup/sales page. The problem here is that Hey is claiming that they should be allowed to use that rule that Netflix and Audible use.
It is as if a lot of people just don’t see or don’t care about monopoly or monopolistic behavior. The product is great, Apple is has the highest market cap of any company in the world, it’s founder has god-like status. What’s the problem?
It may sound unrelated but they're both the result of the American zeitgeist's blind commitment to free markets and unfettered capitalism. To be fair, it's worked well for the US economy (e.g. Silicon Valley) albeit at the cost of increasing the wealth gap and general "late-stage capitalism"-y behaviour.
They're also not saying that Hey can't be in their store, or even needs to pay them anything. Hey could offer a free tier and wouldn't owe Apple a dime. Basecamp already does this so they know it very well.
If I claim that a gas station has a monopoly within a three block radius, that might be technically true, but only because of the constraints I applied. It's not actually a meaningful distinction if the consumer can drive down a bit further and find another gas station.
Imo it's more like saying, "Foocorp in the US doesn't have a monopoly, since you can always move to Canada and buy from BarCo or one of its competitors there!" Well, Foocorp is still the only seller in the US, so they have a monopoly in that market.
Sure. I also have a monopoly in the market of "selling lemonade on my front lawn". Is that a meaningful distinction?
> Imo it's more like saying, "Foocorp in the US doesn't have a monopoly, since you can always move to Canada and buy from BarCo or one of its competitors there!" Well, Foocorp is still the only seller in the US, so they have a monopoly in that market.
No one would consider moving to another country a realistic alternative. So in that situation, yes, there is a monopoly because the consumer does not have a realistic alternative. If a gas station is the only gas station in the city, then it too would have a monopoly in that city, because driving to the next city every time you needed gas is not realistic.
Which again, Basecamp already does. They know this is how it is and how to work around it, but they're pitching a fit because they don't want to do it.
I'm a bit ornery about this because Basecamp is using the plight of other developers now only because it suits their bottom line. Where have they been for the past decade? They've been raking in money off the App store for years.
No, if you find a "trick" to get around Apple's rules, what happens is that you get blocked when they catch you. They might update the rules to explicitly ban what you did, but they'll gladly ban you first and change the rules later.
That's if you're little. If you're big (Google, Facebook, Uber), you might get a call from Tim Cook warning you that you need to stop what you're doing or you'll have trouble soon. Or perhaps they'll ban your cafeteria app, while leaving your consumer apps in the marketplace. Maybe you'll even get to negotiate, if you have enough leverage. But what won't happen is that Tim Cook will say "Looks like the rules don't cover this situation. Awwww, shucks!"
 There are some rules they don't care about (like marketing using push notifications), and enforcement of rules can be mixed. This is for the rules they care about.
"But on January 7, 1980, in response to the Hunts' accumulation, the exchange rules regarding leverage were changed, when COMEX adopted "Silver Rule 7" placing heavy restrictions on the purchase of commodities on margin. The Hunt brothers had borrowed heavily to finance their purchases, and, as the price began to fall again, dropping over 50% in just four days, they were unable to meet their obligations, causing panic in the markets."
Hey are trying to market an app on the app store as a 'free' app. Not offering sign up also means they don't have to add the 'offers in app purchases'.
So they're advertising the app as free. Even though its $99 a year.
Apples 30% cut is obscene and should be less. But Hey are using a 'free' label to market their app.
It is actually against Apple’s rules for Basecamp to make it any clearer.
Apple could solve this by allowing a "Free, account required" descriptor/category for Netflix/Dropbox/etc/etc.
So "Free" is a lie, but one many other apps have used beforehand.
They could add a "requires account" tag like they have "in-app purchases" but I don't think that would satisfy what Apple is looking for here (money).
2. Hey can be accessed via HTTP, so it's not app only.
What if I own an iPhone and HEY is what I want on my phone? How can I override Apple's decision? If I can't, who really owns this device?
It is a pretty well established model. I don't like it sometimes either, but you know what you are getting when you buy an iPhone. It isn't like they changed policy after you bought the device.
I know you're not, but - anyone earnestly asking this question hasn't been paying attention to Apple since, well, ever.
Nowadays a brand new high end +2000€ Samsung TV comes with ads (!) in the menu and the apps feel like they'd be running on a potato. With that kind of Smart TVs, the hardware won't be the issue since it'll be the software that will be obsole way before the hardware. Smart TV is not a promise, its a thread.
Also nowadays it would be useful to have some sort of debug port, for example a serial port to connect and have a CLI to do diagnostic, upload a new firmware, etc. They have these interfaces in the TVs but most of the time are either disabled or protected so the end user cannot use them.
See dishwashers, microwaves, Apple iPhones, and washing machines. Car manufacturers still publish schematics for their circuitry (for a fee)
Hint, if it is expected, that doesn't mean it's still ok..
It technically fulfills the requirements specified in the review guidelines but I suspect it would be frowned upon.
I suppose a large share of the potential Hey customers work in tech and might have a better understanding of what the app store tax actually means. And the EU anti trust investigations probably play role too?
I tend to think Spotify is too big for the media and other pundits to consider to be the little guy.
Remember Hey isn't free. People on waiting list already knew this from day one. With 70K invite, that is $7M annual revenue already.
DHH also went on about making sure no mention of Sign up in Webpages as well as many other commonly known App Stores rules before the App was submitted. And many thought it would pass, and it did for 1.0.
It is the bug fix 1.01 update that was blocked Due to IAP reason. For most if not all iOS developers. This is new. So new that Fastmail didn't get their treatment until now. 
This new IAP rule force 30% on new sign up, as you could not even allow the App to be on App Store without IAP ( hence this website ). Along with the threat from Apple about pulling Hey from App Store, and finally their tone, which was like adding even more fuel to outrage, and I quote
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.
Is not exactly helping and got even more outrage from developers who dont even use Hey. To me that is about the most polite way from Apple saying fuck you. ( If the webpage author is reading this I suggest you include this quote on the webpage, or make a new site with all the popular useful free Apps that helped users but contributed noting to Apple. )
I know there are many who hate DHH and Ruby Rails, but seriously I cant see how he could have orchestra the whole thing as marketing. As if he knew about the IAP rule changes before hand.
There are regularly stories about iOS apps getting removed for odd reasons on the HN tops, but the Hey story blew up pretty quickly.
> I know there are many who hate DHH and Ruby Rails
I also I also heard that a lot of people hate DHH and his Twitter comment bubble doesn't seem to like HN. Either way, he is certainly not wrong about the issue. I also don't see how Hey would profit from marketing around that. First of all, Hey is pretty expensive and has a pretty narrow target audience as of now. Most people are perfectly happy with their free mail, people who aren't are probably already aware that those alternatives exist. Even more importantly, I don't see how they are going to profit by putting their App Store listing at risk. I doubt an E-Mail service is able so succeed if it doesn't offer native applications or at least a integration with third party clients. Since they chose to not support IMAP etc, Hey's iOS app is integral to the buisness. No app in the store, no profit.
> I wish I was that smart. Imagine if I was that good at 4D chess. Imagine just the mechanics of this: first, you have to plant someone within Apple that approves the application, which, and then, what, I plant someone on Monday that then disapproves it? How does any of this work? How powerful do I have to be to orchestrate this?
They'll eventually probably capitulate. Maybe with a higher price on the IAP? They're very much making sure that Apple are earning their 30% through this campaign, though!
They've done a great job organizing their protest campaign. I would be extremely surprised if it wasn't planned from the beginning. They are ultimately depending on Apple caving under pressure.
That said, they were clearly ready to loudly react to whatever trouble did emerge.
Who knows? All I know is if the end result is that Apple is held accountable by regulators and is forced to stop engaging in capricious anticompetitive behavior, then whether DHH is a master astroturfer or not doesn't matter much to me. The end result will have been good for us all.
If not, please refrain from disingenuously advancing obviously problematic ideas. It adds nothing to the conversation.
What's wrong with this being put forward? I would go so far to say that this is one of the four main things that happen when an app is rejected from an app store.
1. Change the app.
2. Don't support the platform.
4. Direct users from that platform to the web version.
The web browsers that meets the PWA requirements are Chrome, Edge, Firefox (to a large extent), Brave, Vivaldi, all available on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android.
Not Safari. And all browsers including Chrome and Firefox are just Safari under the hood (on iOS) so no completion for Apple. Apple does not even allow a competing browser engine.
I wouldn't call this "PWA support".
When I talk to friends at Google that work at Chrome, and tell them to convince Apple to support many of the features, they tell me that they have given up on them, and I can go talk to Apple if I want. They told me they're gonna keep progressing the web even if Apple wants to stay behind, they won't stop.
I've talked to people at Apple about this, they don't care. They always have a far fetched excuse. I know it's not the engineers fault, they are ordered by the upper management.
Instead of giving the money to Apple, we could easily reinvest it to grow.
It was a serious question. I'm sorry if it caught you in a situation that didn't allow you to perceive it in that way.
Also, I'm not sure how Hey orchestrated this - do they have someone on the inside who they had reject their app?
It’s child’s play to orchestrate this. It amounts to getting thrown out of a bar for not wearing pants, and then putting up ishouldbeabletovisitbarswithoutpants.com. Not something that requires a man on the inside.
“Well, let’s ask Apple for some workaround for the 30%, skirt the rules a bit”
“They’ll never go for that”
“Of course not, but while it lasts we’ll get 30% more. Then once we get rejected, sooner or later, we’ll write some blog posts and suddenly a bunch of nerds will see us as the brave underdog“
It makes zero sense.
According to Apple they need this revenue cut because of the cost of keeping the platform running.
If I offer a subscription in my app for 1$/month vs 10$/month what marginal expense is being incurred that apple deserves an extra $2.70 for the higher price?
On the other hand the argument is that all the $0 apps are being subsidized by the paid apps, so they went percentage based so that the cheap apps didn't have a huge fee. It would mean the cheapest paid apps in the app store would be a lot more to absorb the fixed cost, or if they shared it evenly, then there would be no free apps.
If there were competing app stores available on iOS, then we could say they are really entitled to that profit. But we don't know how much of this profit reflects the value they brought versus the rent they were able to get due to gatekeeping the only bridge into iOS-land. So no, we can't for sure say they are entitled to the entirety of that profit.
McDonalds, Nike and Gillette do this too. Hey, maybe you’re doing it yourself: is your salary really the cheapest way for you to produce the work you get paid for?
How do you allow free apps but still collect money? Maybe you could make a distinction between free and paid apps, and charge a flat fee to the paid apps, but then people would just make their apps free and process their payments separately anyway; essentially the same problem you hit with the 30% fee.
As I get older, I can't help but wonder if these people are simply shareholders of Apple (or any company in a discussion like this). Is this good for society overall, to have such a strong financial incentive for so many people to willfully ignore the other side of important arguments?
Ironically, you're wilfully ignoring the other side of the important argument, and telling yourself the lie that anyone who disagrees with you must be being paid to do so, rather than listening to them and thinking about why they may think that way through their own reasoning.
I specifically said "can't help but wonder". It just crosses my mind, no assumptions are made.
(I'm not one of them, by the way: I'm 100% on the side of Hey.)
* Netflix: Reader app (reader is a special Apple exception for movies/tv, books, news... mass-market media)
* Github: Offers a free tier
* App store connect: I mean come on, it's an Apple dev tool
* Tesla: exception for physical goods
Basecamp/Hey knew this was going to happen. It's a wonderful marketing campaign for them.
Apple has zero incentive to change this. The buzz around it is niche and they'd lose countless dollars if they opened the door for exceptions. Basecamp knows this.
Also, where has Basecamp been for the decade prior? Funny how they're propping this as some rightgeous issue when it suddenly impacts their bottom line.
I think they testified in the US Congress about Apple’s practices recently
I don't care about Hey and I'm not an iOS user, but I would love to see this situation, which represents something increasingly accepted as normal but that none of us quite understand, forced into a proper accommodation with reality.
I can just use Apple Pay instead of handing over my credit card. Don't want a subscription? No complicated process. No need to call a number. No need to email anyone. I just click to cancel and I am done.
As lousy as this is, the consumer experience is dramatically improved.
I also am a (generally) happy iPhone user. That being said, I don't think this is a strong argument in support of Apple's monopoly on the App Store.
Make it the default so that non-techy users have no difficulties, but other methods for loading/installing apps should be allowed. If Apple's experience truly is that much better for the consumer, then let it win on its merits.
You also act as if money on the store is coming from small Indy developers and not big corporations and mostly play to win games. Especially since the former big money makers have stopped allowing in app subscriptions.
The biggest issue is how big apples cut is. 30% is a lot for a company that is so impossibly wealthy.
Is that worth paying $43 extra per year on a HEY subscription?
They're not filling some massive need; it's yet another email service. If they can't justify it at $142 a year how do they justify it at $99 a year? You reap what you sow.
If the app says that "One year HEY subscription" is $142 and the app is from HEY itself, what reason is there to believe that it's not just the plain old price of HEY?
Apple knows that customer acquisition is extremely expensive outside the store and is charging accordingly.
Some prefer IaP, like you, so won't sign up to Hey, others don't and may actually have already paid for the service on desktop.
For developers I think a possible strategy would be to sell two products; standard edition and iOS optimized. Charge +30% for the iOS version since Apple users are (supposedly) willing to pay more.
Personally, I'm very skeptical of subscription options since many companies are bad actors; making it difficult to cancel or throwing adds and promotions at you.
Nobody would be complaining if you Apple's user-base wasn't so juicy that your best option is forking over 30%. If it was easy to acquire customers outside the store it wouldn't even be an issue.
If Apple had unlisted apps that didn't show up in the store listings and required a click through from your website to get to the app's store page, I bet some developers would opt for that if it meant they didn't have to pay the 30% tax.
You could not release an app in their store and ignore their existence entirely. But that's ridiculous and you can't afford to do that because their user-base is so valuable. And so Apple charges a premium because they know that.
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That rule is in place for good reason: the overwhelming majority of such accusations are pure imagination, which makes them poison. It's also a cheap, aggressive internet tactic, which makes it ubiquitous. Cheap ubiquitous poison is an environmental hazard, especially on a site which is trying to deviate from internet default, so it needs to be regulated. This rule is how we do that here. There is plenty of past explanation at https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturf&sort=byDat... for anyone who wants it.
Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules from now on.
I don’t think the App Store is the source of customer acquisition. I think being able to sell on iOS devices is the source of customer acquisition. Being able to upsell a user to your premium service right there on the device is the valuable thing that costs a premium.
The App Store is a marketplace that connects people developing for a platform (iOS) to customers using devices compatible with that platform. It is also the only marketplace that does this. In this way, it is best thought of as a (monopolistic) distribution channel.
Like it feels wrong to punish a company for not closing their platform like consoles do to any only working with a few select partners.
At this point this is no private dark pool, but a public market place, the transactions on which affect an unfathomable number of consumers, and Apple should and must be subject to the level of government regulation and oversight that governs other public market places like the NYSE and the CME. I suspect that this will come sooner or later, or otherwise these markets will be broken up entirely, but behavior like this from Apple only hastens this outcome.
> Apple should and must be subject to the level of government regulation and oversight that governs other public market places like the NYSE and the CME.
First it's Facebook should be treated as a Public-as-in-Government Square, and now the App Store should be governed like the stock market?
I think Apple's morally in the wrong here. But the solution isn't just going to be just pulling some lofty regulation out of thin air and trying to re-apply it.
That's exactly what the solution will be. Apple will eventually be responsible for ushering in regulation that kills software distribution monopolies like the App Store. It'll be an interesting new landscape to be in for a lot of markets.
Somewhere along the way they forgot that apps are why people use their devices/platforms.
I was excited about hey before, and even though I don’t agree and don’t like the way the App Store works, I find Hey and the superstars behind it so hypocritical and annoying now. It’s funny how we hate here AMP and other technologies that are killing the open web, but we’re fine with a closed email system that locks you in Basecamp’s walled garden.
(With that being said, there's no reason they couldn't publish an API so someone else could write a client...)
I don't understand this sentiment. You don't like the way the App Store works and a company comes along and is willing to fight against Apple for it, and then you start disliking them? Why are they hypocritical? They are pointing out flaws and being loud about them. Yes, I am aware that it's because it aligns with their financial/strategical interests, but ultimately it's a good thing that they are pressuring Apple, no?
> It’s not like they were perfectly fine with the system as long as it didn’t affect them, being one of the “famous” companies out there, while independent developers and small start-ups had to deal with this for years and years.
What about Netflix, GitHub and all of other companies who are able to get away. They are apparently big enough that Apple cares about them to bend the rules; why aren't we annoyed that they're not willing to stand up for other developers as well? They certainly should have some way of pressuring Apple.
> It’s funny how we hate here AMP and other technologies that are killing the open web, but we’re fine with a closed email system that locks you in Basecamp’s walled garden.
How is Hey "a closed email system"? It sends and receives emails using SMTP. Closed source email clients is far from a new invention and
It intentionally doesn't support IMAP, so exporting email is tricky/impossible. Whether or not you care is another thing entirely.
The "oh my this is shocking and unfair" act is all a ruse. They've been well aware of this since the onset, they even copied Netflix's app text so they can feign "see we're just like them!" despite knowing they're not.
It has never felt so close to actually breaking up apple tight grip on its developer community, and it’s all thanks to him.
- app value is content driven (netflix)
- data-driven (bloomberg)
- or physical (airbnb, amazon)
in cases where you could say, the client is the "main driver of value" they are pretty consistent.
take a game, for example -- or hey's proprietary filtering system.
that said, I don't agree with 30%, jsut my understanding