Apple approves Hey update, invitations no longer required

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has approved a new update to the Hey email app that offers free but temporary service to new users, possibly bringing tensions between the two companies to a close.

Credit: Hey
Credit: Hey


Earlier in June, Apple blocked two bug fix updates to the email client and threatened to remove the app because of its lack of in-app purchase options. Hey is a new $99-a-year email app created by the developers of Basecamp.

Now, Hey has pushed out version 1.0.3 of its app, which includes a feature that lets users create a randomized, 14-day "burner" Hey email account for free. Just a few days prior, Apple approved the aforementioned bug fix updates. Hey is also allowing users to sign up for the service without invitations.

The drama between Hey and Apple was sparked due to the email app's lack of an in-app purchase option, violating App Store guidelines and allowing Hey to circumvent Apple's 15% to 30% cut of subscription purchases.

Basecamp co-founder and CTO David Heinemeier Hansson voiced concern over Apple's handling of the situation last week and vowed to fight App Store policies pertaining to revenue sharing. Jason Fried, Basecamp's CEO, took a different approach and maintained that the dispute over Apple's policies is more about customer experience than it is money.

While some apps are able to get away without integrating a path for new users to sign up for service, Apple said that Hey doesn't fall into that "reader" app category. Hey said that it thought it was following Apple's "unwritten rules" for multi-platform, software-as-a-service products.

Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, who is also in charge of App Store operations, had previously suggested that Hey could offer some type of free tier to get its app approved. Despite the controversy, Schiller said that no changes to Apple's in-app purchase policy were coming.

The dustup between Apple and Hey came in the midst of an U.S. Justice Department antitrust probe. The House's antitrust chair even called Apple's cut of subscriptions "highway robbery."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,370member
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription. At least the developer of Hey (who, based on his past, clearly has a persecution complex) completely misinterpreted this as "you must use our subscription model."

    This is not to say that Apple handled this perfectly. They didn't, at least not initially. Ultimately, though, the solution was exactly what Apple had actually suggested -- with no compromise on their part, or rule-changing or exception-giving required. They're not even getting a cut. Imagine any other company working this hard to make a client who will never give them a dime of revenue (and has cost them a bundle) happy.

    Thankfully, the adult over at Hey (the CEO) managed to get where Apple was coming from, make an incredibly simple change that they should have made from the get-go (a trial period), and oh look -- a win-win for everyone. Now Hey can fail entirely on its own merits (and they will -- their business model is stupid), and Apple can point to the "we listened, we offered a solution agreeable to all, and we'll take their feedback on board going forward" position when the antitrust investigations come calling.
    lam92103flyingdpleavingthebigg
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Hey, looks like ‘Hey’ read the app requirements documentation this time.
    lam92103macplusplussvanstrom
  • Reply 3 of 16
    IMO this was all just done for PR & marketing reasons. The product manager probably knew what a big flop this is gonna be and just did this for hype.

    SpamSandwichsvanstrom
  • Reply 4 of 16
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,203member
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,030member
    lam92103 said:
    IMO this was all just done for PR & marketing reasons. The product manager probably knew what a big flop this is gonna be and just did this for hype.

    Nonsense. It says “free but temporary service”, that makes it a legitimate demo app allowed in the AppStore.
  • Reply 6 of 16
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,030member
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    edited June 2020 svanstrom
  • Reply 7 of 16
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,203member
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    edited June 2020 flyingdp
  • Reply 8 of 16
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,030member
    elijahg said:
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    I admire your logic that equates the sale of a subscription to the sale of a device ! Wow, simply wow... Enjoy it...
    bestkeptsecretRayz2016
  • Reply 9 of 16
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 702member
    elijahg said:
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    Sometimes one's argument should start with a contemplation about whether or not one is about to be an ass just for the sake of what-if-ing something, or if one is making an honest argument to further a discussion.

    You forgot to do that before trying to equal a physical device that simply can't be delivered as software, with a design choice to not deliver something in a certain way in software even though it very easily could be.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 256member
    Hey, looks like ‘Hey’ read the app requirements documentation this time.
    None of what they changed was in there. Apple has changed the rules yet again, and many other large, established apps will have to change to something like Hey has done just now. They have already received that note and have been changing their apps in the past months. Big difference here is that Hey took it public, because their business does not depend on Apple.
    crowley
  • Reply 11 of 16
    em_teem_te Posts: 39member
    elijahg said:
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    I think Apple already requires a cut if you buy anything physical through the app.

  • Reply 12 of 16
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,189member
    em_te said:
    elijahg said:
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    I think Apple already requires a cut if you buy anything physical through the app.
    I think Amazon might have something to say about that.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 637member
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    Elijah - you need to realize that you are trying to be rational with someone who still sees the establishment as 2 guys in a garage! Probably has a lot invested in Apple gear and sees any questioning as a rebellion against their own judgment. In fact Apple has wisely worked to put this issue to bed. The EU are another establishment that can work to pass rules that will cut at Apple’s kumbeyyah story and really tar them as a corporate antitrust bully. They have already abdicated to China and will do so to the EU. Here people like chasm may delay it but with Democrats looking like they could sweep Republicans across the board even here they face additional scrutiny. Shriller really blundered into this with his arrogance on free apps not contributing and would do Apple a big favor by shutting up or better yet, leaving. Small changes would go a long way to making Apple look much better. 
  • Reply 14 of 16
    michelb76 said: Big difference here is that Hey took it public, because their business does not depend on Apple.
    Don't be too sure about that. They want access to the App Store because it's been proven to have a higher percentage of customers that actually pay $$ for software. 
    svanstrom
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,816member
    elijahg said:
    elijahg said:
    chasm said:
    Surprise! Phil wasn't kidding -- I think Apple was 100 percent in the right on the point that he made: an App Store app should not do nothing if the user doesn't already have a subscription.
    What about apps are completely non-functional without specific hardware from a vendor? Plenty of those on there.
    So what? Should Apple sell the hardware too via in-app purchases? 

    Besides, those apps are functional. They just wait for the device to be attached to fulfill the app’s intended use.
    What is different about something virtual that entitles Apple to take a cut, to something physical? Apart from the difficulty Apple would have enforcing a "tariff" if you will on physical products that utilise their store of course. Take the Nest app for example. Totally useless without hardware, Apple makes zero money from the sales of Nest products but still has to host the free app. Most of the Nest ecosystem is useless without an app too, so it's not like the app is a bonus, it's required, and yet Apple makes no money from it.

    So in fact Hey was functional. It was just waiting for the device subscription to be attached activated to fulfil the app's intended use.
    Because no one downloads the Nest app before they buy the Nest. 

    But you knew that already. 
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Not sure why everyone thought this was such a big deal. I can’t find an e-mail app on the App Store that doesn’t offer free e-mail or allow you to connect to a free e-mail service. This may have been a first for an e-mail app which is why they made a fuss. Biggest mistake Apple made here was letting version 1.0 of this app to be released without resolving this problem first.

    Notice that Apple is still not making a cut off this app. The difference is that you can’t sell a subscription outside of in app purchases and not offer any functionality unless you have that subscription.

    Contrast this to Office 365 apps. Outlook connects to both Office.com e-mail (paid) and Outlook.com (free) e-mail services. The other apps act as reader apps for the document formats they support if you don’t have a subscription.
    edited June 2020
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