Apple’s Phil Schiller says position on ‘Hey’ app is unchanged and no rules changes are imminent

In a brief call today about Basecamp’s “Hey” email app and the iOS App Store, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, told TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino that there would be no changes to its rules that would allow the app to continue to be offered.

Hey's "Imbox"
Hey’s “Imbox”

Matthew Panzarino for TechCrunch:

“Sitting here today, there’s not any changes to the rules that we are considering,” Schiller said. “There are many things that they could do to make the app work within the rules that we have. We would love for them to do that.”

The current experience of the Hey app as a user downloading it from the App Store is that it does nothing. It is an app that requires you to subscribe to the Hey service on the web before it becomes useful.

“You download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store,” says Schiller. This, he says, is why Apple requires in-app purchases to offer the same purchasing functionality as they would have elsewhere.

To be clear, this is against the App Store rules for most apps. The exceptions here are apps that are viewed as ‘readers’ that only display external content of certain types like music, books and movies — and apps that only offer bulk pricing options that are paid for by institutions or corporations rather than the end user… “We didn’t extend these exceptions to all software,” he notes about the ‘reader’ type apps — examples of which include Netflix. “Email is not and has never been an exception included in this rule.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, as we wrote yesterday: What’s to prohibit the Hey developers from adding an option to subscribe to their email service in-app for $99 plus Apple’s App Store cut (30% the first year, 15% thereafter) per year whle working to make it common knowledge that savvy users subscribe to services OUTSIDE of the App Store for 15%-30% less, not in it for 15%-30% more?

Final note: David Heinemeier Hansson is the guy who last year claimed that there was “gender bias” in the Apple Card approval process (disavowed strongly by Goldman Sachs) and he earlier this year testified before the U.S. Congress that Apple’s App Store appeals process would make “Kafka blush,” so there may be more going on here between Apple and Hansson than is seen on the surface.

10 Comments

    1. The difference is that Apple has been careful not to garner monopoly power in a market. They don’t want it, to be honest. They just want to monopolize the profits, but the Sherman Act doesn’t protect profits, just customer choice. So the thinking is that they can leverage their massive but non-monopoly market power in the mobile space to compete unfairly other markets, such as apps, music, banking, health care, automotive, VR, movies, and so on. Microsoft, on the other hand, didn’t even pretend to skirt the rules. They just brazenly leveraged monopoly power to monopolize new markets.

        1. Valid? I think you don’t know what that word means. There are ‘reasons’ to consider iOS as its own market but they’re mostly wishful thinking on your part because you want to complain about Apple being a monopoly. Sadly for you Apple is not a monopoly and never will be. However please do enlighten all of us about these “valid reason” (sic), hopefully you have more than one, why iOS is its own market. This will be fun.

            1. If you could explain without resorting to wishful thinking you would have done it. Sadly all you have is wishful thinking. Since when did whether anyone will consider what you write ever stop you from ranting? Most commenters here think you’re a joke and you continue to rant and rant and rant. No, you’re using that as a convenient excuse because you don’t have a rational argument.

  1. Regarding MDN’s Take: actually, Apple’s App Store rules do prohibit offering a subscription or purchase elsewhere for a lower price than is offered in the App Store. So if you sell for $99.99 in the App Store, you have to sell for $99.99 or more everywhere else too.

    Not defending that rule; that’s just what it is.

  2. According to John Gruber, there’s a ton of resentment amongst iOS / iPadOS developers

    “This resentment runs deep and is stunningly widespread. You have to trust me on this, regarding the number of stories I’ve been told in confidence. Again, putting aside everything else — legal questions of antitrust and competition, ethical questions about what’s fair, procedural questions regarding what should change in the written and unwritten App Store rules, acknowledgement of all the undeniably great things about the App Store from the perspective of users and developers — this deep widespread resentment among developers large and small is a serious problem for Apple”

    https://daringfireball.net/linked/2020/06/19/swisher-app-store-hey

    1. If iOS developers sold their IP to Apple spit became Apple’s property, then Apple would be 100% correct 5o have a closed system and closed store and own the rules. But they don’t. iOS developers have exactly zero recourse.

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