The brand new yr was supposed to start with a brand new calendar app. However roughly 72 hours after the premium e mail service Hey introduced its latest feature — an built-in calendar — co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson acquired some unwelcome information from Apple: it was rejecting a standalone iOS app for Hey Calendar, as a result of non-paying customers couldn’t do something after they opened the app up.
New customers can’t join Hey Calendar straight on the app — Basecamp, which makes Hey, makes customers first enroll by way of a browser. Apple’s App Retailer guidelines require most paid companies to supply customers the power to pay and enroll by way of the app, making certain the corporate will get as much as a 30 p.c lower. The controversial rule has a ton of grey areas and carve-outs (i.e. reader apps like Spotify and Kindle get an exception) and is the topic of antitrust fights in a number of international locations.
However as Hansson detailed on X and in a subsequent blog post, he discovered Apple’s rejection insulting for one more cause. Near 4 years in the past, the corporate rejected Hey’s authentic iOS app for its e mail service for the exact same reason. “Apple simply known as to tell us they’re rejecting the HEY Calendar app from the App Retailer (in present kind). Identical bullying ways as final time: Push delicate rejections to a name with a first-name-only one that’ll softly inform you it’s your pockets or your kneecaps,” wrote Hansson in a put up on X.
The result of the 2020 battle truly labored out in Hey’s favor. After days of back and forth between Apple’s App Retailer Assessment Board and Basecamp, the Hey staff agreed to a rather creative solution recommended by Apple exec Phil Schiller. Hey would supply a free choice for the iOS app, permitting new customers to enroll straight. However the firm had a slight twist — customers who signed up through the iOS app obtained a free, non permanent randomized e mail deal with that labored for 14 days — after which they needed to pay to improve. At the moment, Hey e mail customers can solely pay for an account by way of the browser.
Following the saga with Hey, Apple made a carve-out to its App Retailer guidelines that acknowledged that free companion apps to sure varieties of paid net companies have been not required to have an in-app fee mechanism. However, as Hansson mentions on X, a calendar app wasn’t talked about within the listing of companies that Apple now makes an exception for, which incorporates VOIP, cloud storage, internet hosting — and naturally — e mail.
“After spending 19 days to assessment our submission, inflicting us to overlook a long-planned January 2nd launch date, Apple rejected our stand-alone free companion app ‘as a result of it doesn’t do something’. That’s as a result of customers are required to login with an current account to make use of the performance,” wrote Hansson within the weblog put up.
As Hansson details in an X put up, Hey plans to battle Apple’s choice — although he didn’t specify what route they are going to be taking. The Verge has reached out to each Hey and Apple for remark.