Snippet: Apple Might Want 30% of Everything ☇

Shared on August 21, 2020

Sean Hollister for The Verge:

WordPress, the iOS app, lets you build and manage a website right from your iPhone or iPad.

Separately, also happens to sell domain names.

Now, WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg is accusing Apple of cutting off the ability to update that app — until or unless he adds in-app purchases so the most valuable company in the world can extract its 30 percent cut of the money. […]

Here’s the thing: the WordPress app on iOS doesn’t sell anything. I just checked, and so did Stratechery’s Ben Thompson. The app simply lets you make a website for free. There isn’t even an option to buy a unique dot-com or even dot-blog domain name from the iPhone and iPad app — it simply assigns you a free WordPress domain name and 3GB of space.

What the f—uh, let’s go with…hell, Apple? While I’ve been firmly in the camp that the App Store policies could use some updating for the times, I do think enforcing rules consistently and not tearing down the walled garden is important. I’m also not really a fan of the Android-style idea of multiple app stores, but that’s for another post.

I hope this is a miscommunication, because it’s a really really stupid move on Apple’s part when everyone is already looking at their policies and behaviors under a microscope. What’s next, a 30% cut if you buy goods in the Target app? A 30% cut if you pay your Comcast or AT&T bill in those apps? A 30% cut if you order a coffee from the Starbucks app?

Update: Apple issued a carefully-worded statement to back out of the matter without WordPress changing anything:

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

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