Apple won’t budge on controversial App Store payment rules

Apple won’t budge on controversial App Store payment rules


Phil Schiller
Apple VP Phil Schiller sees no need for changes to the App Store payment rules on revenue sharing.
Photo: Apple

There are no plans to modify the rules of the iOS App Store that would allow Basecamp’s Hey mail app to avoid paying to be listed, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of marketing.

The creators of Hey made news recently by calling Apple “gangsters” for requiring companies to pay 30% of their revenue to have software appear in the App Store.

Schiller weighs in on App Store payment controversy

Basecamp’s proposed solution to get around paying anything to Apple is to make its email app free but nonfunctional. Buying a $99 annual subscription on the company’s website activates the software.

Apple initially approved the Hey app, but later noticed that it does a runaround on Cupertino’s revenue-sharing requirement and threatened to pull it. Buying a subscription must be done through Apple’s in-app payment system, which would give the company between 15% and 30% of Hey’s subscription fee.

And that’s not going to change. Apple VP Schiller told TechCrunch “there’s not any changes to the rules that we are considering.”

Schiller also called out Basecamp for making software that’s useless without the subscription. “You download the app and it doesn’t work,” he said. “That’s not what we want on the store.”

It’s a complicated situation because Apple does make exceptions for apps from video services that need subscriptions to work, like Disney+. The iPhone-maker doesn’t require a share of these companies’ revenue. But Schiller said an email app like Hey doesn’t qualify.

Apple App Store under government scrutiny

All this is playing out while both the United States and the European Union are looking into whether the App Store is anti-competitive.

Congress wants to talk to Apple CEO Tim Cook and the heads of Amazon, Facebook and Google about various antitrust issues. And the European Union launched antitrust investigations into the App Store and Apple Pay on Tuesday.


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