Apple is blocking another major developer from app updates.
What you need to know
- WordPress’s iOS app is blocked from app updates and bug fixes.
- The developer says Apple is requiring them to offer its in-app payment system.
- This could force WordPress to pay Apple a fee for all .com subscriptions.
It appears that Apple may be blocking another major developer from submitting updates and bug fixes to its app.
Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of WordPress, has reported today that the company has not been able to release updates to the WordPress app on iOS because their ability to do so has been blocked by Apple. According to the developer, Apple is requiring WordPress to support in-app purchases for .com plans.
“Heads up on why @WordPressiOS updates have been absent… we were locked by App Store. To be able to ship updates and bug fixes again we had to commit to support in-app purchases for .com plans. I know why this is problematic, open to suggestions. Allow others IAP? New name?”
Heads up on why @WordPressiOS updates have been absent… we were locked by App Store. To be able to ship updates and bug fixes again we had to commit to support in-app purchases for .com plans. I know why this is problematic, open to suggestions. Allow others IAP? New name?
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) August 21, 2020
Ben Thompson, author and founder of Stratechery, has pointed out the hold on the WordPress iOS app flies in the face of the company’s recent promise to not prevent bug fixes for an app that is being blocked from other updates. The analyst goes further to say that, by doing so, Apple is “holding millions of websites hostage” in order to capture its 30% fee.
“I am admittedly puzzled as to why Apple is denying me updates to the open source app for my open source web site because one user of that app happens to sell domains. Also, I thought Apple wasn’t going to hold bug updates hostage anymore? … Apple is thus holding millions of websites hostage for 30% of Automattic domain sales.”
WordPress (and the app) are GPL, and App Store TOS and DRM violate GPL. Thus only the copyright holder can submit an app for all of WordPress, both self-hosted and https://t.co/WHTtnmKYAZ.
Apple is thus holding millions of websites hostage for 30% of Automattic domain sales 🤷♂️
— Ben Thompson (@benthompson) August 21, 2020
Apple is currently in a legal battle with Epic Games over its control of the App Store, which Epic claims is an unfair monopoly. Just today, Apple said Epic Games wanted a ‘special deal’ for Fortnite in new filing, something that would directly contradict Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney’s comments. Other developers, like Spotify and Hey Email, have also complained about Apple’s App Store policies.