Apple has now apologized to WordPress following a dispute between the two companies over in-app purchases in WordPress’ iOS app.
The popular CMS provides a free app for its users on the App Store which doesn’t offer any in-app purchases though WordPress also uses the app to promote its paid subscriptions. However, users are unable to buy subscriptions through the app and must do so via the company’s website.
In order to prevent WordPress from advertising its paid services within its free app, Apple devised a plan where it would block updates to the app until the open source project enabled in-app purchases.
The reason for this is due to the fact that Apple receives a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases made through apps hosted on its store. Recently though, Epic Games publicly questioned this practice by allowing users to buy virtual currency from directly within Fortnite which led to the popular battle royale game being banned.
Apple’s plan to block updates to WordPress’ iOS app went against a recent update to its policy after its dispute with Basecamp over the company’s Hey email app earlier this year. The email service required users to activate a subscription through the company’s website but Apple demanded that it allow users to sign up for the service directly through the app which would allow the iPhone maker to receive its 30 percent cut of the subscription fee.
In a tweet, WordPress developer Matt Mullenwag explained that Apple had planned to cut off updates and bug fixes for the project’s iOS app unless it committed to supporting in-app purchases. The tweet received a lot of attention online and Apple was eventually forced to back down which led the company to issue the following statement:
“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.”
While Apple and WordPress may have ended their recent dispute, Epic Games and other developers are far from finished when it comes to fighting the company over its 30 percent cut of in-app purchases. The policy may have made sense when the App Store first launched but now that consumers only really have two app stores to choose from, both Google and Apple may need to alter their policies to avoid anti-trust legislation in the future.