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After Outcry, Apple Will Let Developers Challenge App Store Guidelines

Apple today announced two major changes to how it handles App Store disputes with third-party developers. The first is that Apple will now allow developers to appeal a specific violation of an App Store guideline, and that there will also be a separate process for challenging the guideline itself. Additionally, Apple says it will no longer delay app updates intended to fix bugs and other core functions over App Store disputes. The Verge reports: The changes come in the wake of Apple’s high-profile showdown with Hey, a new email service from software developer Basecamp. The service launched last week as an invite-only website and a companion iOS app, with a full launch slated for July. But after initially approving the app, Apple later rejected Basecamp’s subsequent updates and kicked off what became a very public feud between the company and Basecamp’s co-founders, CEO Jason Fried and CTO David Heinemeier Hansson, over whether Hey could exist in the App Store in its current form at all. The feud, inconveniently for Apple, coincided with the announcement of two antitrust probes from the European Union last week that were spurred in part from complaints from longtime Apple rivals like Spotify.

The central dispute in this case was whether Hey qualified for an exemption to rules around in-app purchases, which Basecamp decided not to include because the company does not want to give Apple its standard App Store revenue cut. Apple said Hey did not and claimed Basecamp’s iOS app violated three App Store guidelines by not allowing you to sign up or purchase access to Hey from mobile. Fried and Heinemeier Hansson claimed that the decision was evidence of inconsistency and greed on Apple’s part given the numerous apps, like Netflix and business software, that do qualify for such exemptions and have existed in the App Store without in-app purchase options for years. Apple last week tried to head off any future escalation of the feud by outlining its reasoning in a letter signed from the App Review Board, which it disseminated to Basecamp and media organizations. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller also conducted interviews with members of the press. […] On Monday, ahead of the keynote, Apple capitulated, allowing Hey’s updates to go through only after a compromise from Basecamp in which the company now lets you sign up for a burner account that expires after two weeks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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