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Apple makes concessions to App Store developers

BBC Technology 23 Jun 2020 09:35
Tim CookImage copyright EPA

Apple is to give developers more leeway in disputes regarding apps that have fallen foul of its App Store rules.

The company will allow developers accused of violating its guidelines to launch an appeal.

And updates to apps that fix minor problems will no longer be delayed by these disputes.

The changes follow a public row between Apple and Basecamp, the developers of Hey, an email app at the centre of an App Store dispute.

Their timing coincides with Apple's week-long Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), at which it is seeking app-makers' help in switching its Mac platform to a different type of chip.

Strict guidelines

Apple’s App Store is where nearly all iPhone and iPad users acquire apps for their devices.

But Apple has long retained the right to decide when apps should be suspended or even pulled from the App Store, based on its strict guidelines.

But Basecamp said it "won't ever do IAP [in-app purchases]" and neither did other apps, such as Netflix.

And it is now offering a two-week free trial within Hey, to fulfil Apple's requirement for apps to "work" immediately on being downloaded.

On Tuesday, Basecamp’s chief technology officer, David Heinemeier Hansson, tweeted Apple's decision to relax its rules was "pretty significant" but the exact nature of its future relationship with developers needed further clarity.

“There's a path forward here, where Apple goes back to being a friend of developers not a big bully they're all terrified of speaking out against.”

But nearly all, especially the small ones, grumble in private rather than offend the mighty company on which their livelihoods depend.

At another time, Apple might have swatted the company away.

So before the keynote, it moved quietly to make peace with Basecamp.

But this isn’t over.

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Tags

AppleApp StoreDavid Heinemeier HanssonBasecampNetflix
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