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Unveiling the Latest Friction in Tech: Hey's Calendar App Clash with Apple

  • Jan 09, 2024
  • Liam Johnson
Unveiling the Latest Friction in Tech: Hey's Calendar App Clash with Apple

The tech frontier witnesses a new standoff as Hey, a subsidiary of Basecamp, locks horns with Apple once more. The core of the dispute rests on the rejection of Hey's newly minted calendar app from the Apple App Store. Groundhog Day has struck for Hey, with echoes of a similar skirmish over their email application four years prior. The calendar app in question presents a dead-end for non-paying users, providing no functionality post-download and no in-app provision to create an account or subscribe.

Pioneering a fresh calendar service within Hey's arsenal just last week, Basecamp promptly followed with a standalone app for the feature. The co-founder of Hey, David Heinemeier Hansson, took to social media over the weekend to explain Apple's rebuff. The crux of Apple's app policies engenders a system whereby apps must facilitate in-app signups and enable subscription-based monetization, which inadvertently carves a path for Apple's revenue via its standard 30% cut. This requirement notwithstanding, there exists a precedent of applications like Netflix and Kindle, which bypass this model, permitting account setup beyond the app's domain.

In a strongly worded blog post, Hansson aired his grievances, drawing parallels with other large-scale services like Google Calendar, which similarly restrict access to existing subscribers without paying through iTunes. He posited that Apple's own ecosystem operates on an analogous model, utilizing one iCloud ID for a myriad of app subscriptions. According to Hansson's perspective, Hey's calendar offering, therefore, should be no exception to the rule, warranting its existence on the App Store.

A battle of principles ensues as Hey reaffirms its refusal to yield to Apple's cut from its revenue, branding this fee as "protection money." The confrontation in 2020 found its solution when Hey modified its email app to start with a randomized email ID, forestalling the need to pay through the app. Yet today, uncertainty hovers over the resolution for Hey's calendar app. Hansson audaciously asserts. However, that compromise or clever navigation will materialize once again.

Apple's silence on the matter only adds intrigue to the ensuing conflict, which is representative of a broader ongoing debate regarding app store practices and policies. As spectators and industry watchers alike, we await the next moves in this high-stakes tech tussle, pondering its implications not just for Hey and Apple but for the entire ecosystem of software developers and tech innovators.

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