pple has given a go ahead to the latest update to Hey email reader app after the app developer Basecamp agreed to offer a free version of the app on the App Store. The announcement was made by the developer hours ahead of the start of Apple’s WWDC 2020 developer conference.
The new version of the Hey app adds a free option allowing users to sign up directly in-app for a free, temporary, randomized @hey.com email address that will work for 14 days. After that they will have to pay the monthly subscription.
The update had become a bone of contention between Apple and Basecamp after it was found that the latter was not allowing users to access the email app until they had purchased a license to use it from the Basecamp website.
Apple held that this was in violation of its App Store policy and the developer needed to either allow users to access the email app to no subscribers or incorporate an in-app subscription option within the app.
The developer argued that offering in-app purchase would cost them as they will have to part with 30% of their annual $99 subscription fee to Apple. Doing it through their website exempted them from making that payment.
Apple charges 30% cut on all in-app subscriptions from app developers for the first year and 15% after that for listing their apps on the App Store.
Apple had initially approved the Hey app but refused to approve the update for a bug fix until the developer acquiesced to the App Store policy. The Mac version of the Hey app was reportedly rejected for the same reason.
Many app developers have criticised Apple for their higher rates. In 2019, Spotify an filed anti-trust case against Apple with the European Commission arguing that the the 30% cut was too high and was forcing developers to inflate the price of their subscriptions.
Spotify argued that Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store and a competitor to services like theirs.
Last week, the European Commission opened the formal antitrust investigations to see if Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps through their app store is violating EU’s competition rules.
According to an independent study by Analysis Group, Apple’s App Store facilitated e-commerce worth $519 billion in billings and sales globally in 2019.