Apple blocked the WordPress app for iOS because it wanted the purchase option to be added

Some days ago we share here on the blog the news about removing the app from Fortnite from the AppStore from Apple because Epic Games added a payment option which they offered as an alternative to what the AppStore does (it retains 30% of the profits).

While it was believed that there was only Epic Games that was currently blocked in the App Store by Apple due to the dispute between them about the 30% commission demanded by Apple on applications and in-application purchases. But recently Matt Mullenweg, Founder of CMS WordPress, announced on your Twitter page that the app WordPress for iOS had also been blocked by Apple on the App Store.

“Updates were missing… the App Store blocked us. In order to re-release updates and bug fixes, we had to commit to supporting in-app purchases for .com plans. Matt Mullenweg reported. You should know that to publish applications on the App Store, you must first pay $ 99 per year to have a developer account. And for each published application, Apple will receive a commission of 30% on the price of the application (if the application is paid) and 30% on purchases within the application (payments made in the application to unlock a function or access to an additional service). But for applications that the developer offers for free and that do not include in-application purchases, Apple reports that it "does not receive any commission for the support, hosting and distribution of these applications."

Until now, the WordPress app for iOS fell into the latter category, as It was offered free of charge and did not include services for making purchases within the application

In principle, this should not be a problem in the App Store, because this type of application is accepted by Apple. But it is clear that this Friday the application was blocked without being able to make updates and bug fixes.

The only condition to unlock the application, reports Matt Mullenweg, was to add in-app purchases.

If Apple proceeded with the lock, it is because, in fact, on the WordPress.com site, there are paid plans that entitle you to additional services such as more storage, customization, and SEO tools that you can use for your site.

And from the iOS app, there would be a way for a user to know that WordPress.com has paid plans. These are either buried in the support pages or can be accessed by browsing the WordPress site from a preview of the user's web page.

Despite this fact, Mullenweg asked Apple to hide the pages with the offers in question, but the company reportedly rejected the proposal while holding firm to his position.

Faced with this injunction, Mullenweg said:

“I firmly believe in the inviolability of licenses. (Open source is based on licenses and copyrights.) We accept this license when we sign up for (and stayed on) the App Store, so we will follow and abide by the rules. Don't try to ignore it, so do what they asked us.

As a result of these statements, Mullenweg has decided not to fight Apple, Instead, comply with what the company requires by adding in-app purchases within 30 days for paid plans that can be found on the WordPress site. com.

Given these statements, Apple has promised to lift the locks for updates of the WordPress application awaiting the changes promised by Mullenweg. In view of these facts, it seems that to collect its 30% commission, Apple could even force developers to add payment services in their applications, even if they do not want to.

However, a day after the app crashed, Apple returned to the case saying:

«We believe that the problem with the WordPress application has been resolved. Since the developer removed the display of its service payment options from the app, it is now a free, standalone app and does not have to offer in-app purchases. We have informed the developer and we apologize for any confusion we have caused. ”

It should be noted that Mullenweg did not add any paid plans as required by Apple. According to some comments, Apple surely would have understood that forcing a free app to add purchases in-app it wasn't necessarily the best option, especially in a context in which voices are increasingly raised to denounce the 30% commission charged on purchases.

Mullenweg himself explains on his Twitter page that

“WordPress didn't offer a way to buy WordPress.com plans in their app, they just advertised their plans. Apple wanted WordPress to add a way to purchase in-app plans through in-app purchases, which gives Apple 30%. Of course, it doesn't look good with the Epic Games test 

Related article:
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and Epic immediately sues Apple for anti-competitive practices

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  1.   Autopilot said

    Thanks for sharing!