Don’t bend your own rules

There’s a lot of discussion around Apple’s AppStore practices and rules right now. Not only is there a running European Union antitrust probe but also a discussion around the HEY Email app that was rejected recently due to the fact they didn’t integrate payment via Apple but only via their website.

As per AppStore rules, this is forbidden. Apple states that apps need to fully work inside their ecosystem and while they split into normal and reader apps, Basecamp’s HEY app does not really comply with their rules. Now, so far that would be fine and I guess apart from the fact that this rule is subject to antitrust probes and shows ‘monopoly rules the world’ at its best no one would complain.

Whether I like/support/reject these practices and rules is not subject to this article.

The big problem here is that you can easily find a lot of big apps that fall under the same rules but are in the AppStore. Netflix for example is unusable if you don’t own an account and pay for it outside of the Apple ecosystem. Slack is a bit different as you can use it for free although the paid plans are not payable via AppStore as well.

So there are exceptions to the rule. They are made only(!) for big companies that are a benefit or a thread to Apple and to companies that have good direct connections to Apple as a company. It’s no wonder that people feel betrayed about it—this is lobbying at its best. Saying that Apple won’t change the rules for an email app but having Netflix as exception is fine is not going to be perceived very well by the community, by Apple’s loyal customers, by all those app developers who make Apple’s ecosystem so great.

“You download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store,” Phil Schiller from Apple

If that’s the rule, apply it to everyone. Make no exceptions. That makes you a trustable company, a trustable person.

Written on as Note