Apple Switches Gears - Lets Basecamp Update Hey

Reversing course, Apple has decided to let Basecamp add an updated version of its email reader Hey to the App Store.

“A sincere thanks to Apple for their change of heart,” Basecamp cofounder-CEO Jason Fried wrote in a post published on Monday.

In a letter written to Fried, last week, Apple’s app review board reiterated its refusal to carry Hey unless it added in-app purchasing.

As the review board explained, Hey was in violation of several of its guidelines, because customers couldn’t use the app to access email until after they go to the Basecamp site and purchase a license to use it.



Therefore, Apple was unable to take its customary 30% cut of Hey’s subscription price of $99.

In the letter, Apple’s board also gave Fried the option of offering his email reader to nonsubscribers.

Taking Apple up on that suggestion, the newest version of Hey includes a free option.

“Now users can sign up directly in-app for a free, temporary, randomized email address that works for 14 days,” Fried noted on Monday. “Think of it like a temporary SIM card you buy when traveling.”

Basecamp has also accelerated its multi-user Hey for Work offering, which is free to the employees of corporate clients, Fried added.

Despite overcoming this particular impasse, Apple remains at odds with developers and lawmakers that take issue with the 30% share of in-app subscriptions it takes during an app’s first year on the App Store. (After a year, Apple then takes a 15% cut of subscription revenue.)

Last week, House antitrust committee chair Rep. David Cicilline characterized the company as a monopolist.

“Because of the market power that Apple has, it is charging exorbitant rents -- highway robbery, basically -- bullying people to pay 30% or denying access to their market,” Rep. Cicilline told The Verge.

Separately, the European Commission announced antitrust probes into the business practices of Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay, last week.

Dismissing the probes as groundless, Apple stated: “It’s disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies that simply want a free ride, and don't want to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Although not mentioned by name, Apple was likely referring to Spotify, which has been petitioning regulators to take a closer look at Apple’s operations for years.

Last week, a report from consulting firm Analysis Group estimated the App Store generated $519 billion in total billings and sales of products and services in 2019.

During the same period, Apple said digital items -- from mobile games to in-app purchases to paid apps -- produced $61 billion.

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