What you need to know
- Hey Email CEO Jason Fried has written a letter to Apple.
- The letter was posted on the company's website.
- Fried argues that the App Store payment policy hurts businesses and customers.
Jason Fried, the CEO of Hey Email, has posted a letter to the company's website in response to Apple's decision to reject its app from the App Store.
Fried's main argument in the letter focuses on how Apple's current payment policy drives a wedge between a customer and the business they have a relationship with. The first point that Fried stresses is that it is the business that spends the time, money, and effort to win a customer, only to have Apple step in between that relationship with its in-app payment system.
"When someone signs up for your product in the App Store, they aren't technically your customer anymore - they are essentially Apple's customer. They pay Apple, and Apple then pays you. So that customer you've spent years of time, treasure, and reputation earning, is handed over to Apple. And you have to pay Apple 30% for the privilege of doing so!"
Fried goes on to say that, for all of the customers who choose this payment method, it makes helping those customers with billing issues or questions almost impossible for the company.
"You can no longer help the customer who's buying your product with the following requests: Refunds, credit card changes, discounts, trial extensions, hardship exceptions, comps, partial payments, non-profit discounts, educational discounts, downtime credits, tax exceptions, etc. You can't control any of this when you charge your customers through Apple's platform. So now you're forced to sell a product - with your name and reputation on it - to your customers, yet you are helpless and unable to help them if they need a hand with any of the above."
Fried also says that it not only, causes issues for the business/customer relationship, but internal issues for the business itself. Many multiplatform businesses already have billing infrastructure set up, and Apple's lack of integration with outside system creates more burden on those who have to run it.
"Further, like many sophisticated software companies, we already have a centralized billing system which is tied into our own back office systems. Administration, accounting, account management, data lookup, customer support, etc. If one of our customers is forced to pay with Apple's payment system, we're blind. We can't look them up, we can't help them. Our only answer is "Go ask Apple." What a terrible, hopeless message to send. Developers who are forced to send this message today are often met with accusations of scamming their customers, stealing their money, etc."
Fried closes his letter by imploring Apple to allow developers the choice to use or not use Apple's payment system, saying that "it's our business, not your business".
"Apple, please just give your developers the choice! Let us bill our own customers through our own systems, so we can help them with extensions, refunds, discounts, or whatever else our own way. It's our business, not your business."
Apple's App Store policies have come under increased scrutiny over the last week due to the company's decision to reject the Hey Email app from the App Store. While the app was initially approved, which Apple's Phil Schiller says was an error, it has not been allowed to receive app updates. Apple says that the app is required to offer in-app purchases for its subscription in order to remain available on the store.
You can read the full letter on the Hey Email website.