After going back and forth on the issue for some time, Apple has “definitively approved” the Hey email app for the App Store.
According to a new report from The Verge, Hey will not include any in-app purchases, so Apple will not get its standard 30 percent commission. At first, Apple objected to the fact that users would download the app from the App Store but have to sign up via the web. Apple’s policies require that developers use IAP to unlock paid features or functionality in an app. Hey managed to skirt around those rules by offering a free trial option.
Basecamp CTO and co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted the news today.
Apple has definitively approved HEY in the App Store!! No IAP, no 30% cut, but we’ve opened the door to a free temp address service, and use same app for work accounts. I’m so incredibly relieved! And now HEY is open to EVERYONE! No invite code needed 🎉❤️ https://t.co/J7OCCTFX2Z
— DHH (@dhh) June 25, 2020
“Hopefully this paves an illuminated path for approval for other multi-platform SAAS applications as well,” Hansson wrote. “There are still a litany of antitrust questions to answer, but things legitimately got a little better. New policies, new precedence. Apple took a great step forward.”
Basically, Hey is now open to everyone, and it does not require an invite code. The app promises a more organized approach to email, for $99 USD per year. But perhaps more importantly, Hey is an example of how developers can avoid paying Apple 30 percent of IAP and subscription fees.
“Hopefully this paves an illuminated path for approval for other multi-platform SAAS applications as well. There are still a litany of antitrust questions to answer, but things legitimately got a little better. New policies, new precedence. Apple took a great step forward,” Hansson tweeted.
This is just another example of what some say are anti-competitive practices related to Apple’s iOS App Store policies. The debate over the company’s 30 percent cut of in-app purchases has long frustrated developers around the world.
The European Commission recently opened dual investigations into the App Store and Apple Pay over its rules requiring developers to use its own payment and in-app purchase system. That investigation was spurred by Spotify’s complaint, but the debate over whether the App Store is fair is not new. Apple may appease some developers if it allows them to follow Basecamp’s lead and offer free trials instead of IAP.