Apple Accused of Arm-Twisting ProtonMail into Adding in-App Purchases

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Lately, Apple has been into a lot of trouble for mandating In-app purchases. Remember how Hey email was forced to add in-app purchases right before WWDC 2020? Well, Hey email is not the only app that was forced into IAP. Apple has allegedly arm-twisted ProtonMail into adding in-app purchases.

One of the developers told Congress that Apple had forced it to monetize a free app. Interestingly, Apple had approved the app without IAP for two years, but now the company is forcing the developer to add in-app purchases. That’s not all; Apple allegedly threatened the developer to remove the app and block updates when they sent an email to customers informing them of change.

The developer in no one but Andy Yen, CEO of ProtonMail. He compared Apple’s methods to that of a “Mafia.” Apple has allegedly forced many app developers to add IAP. Most of them are keeping mum, fearing Apple’s retaliation. Apple recently changed the App Store guideline that exempts “free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web-based tool.” Despite the new rule, Protonmail is scared of removing its in-app purchases.

It is worth noting that ProtonMail is one of the founding members of the Coalition for App Fairness. Developers like Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and others are part of the group. They rallied against Apple to protest its rules.

How is this different from Epic Games standoff?

Many developers are complaining of being bullied by Apple when implementing in-app purchases or any other App Store Guidelines. However, this particular instance is different from Epic Games’ standoff. ProtonMail is not offering a paid version of its app on the App Store. Only the free version was available for download on the App Store. On the other hand, Epic Games implemented a direct payment method on Fortnite.

We didn’t offer a paid version in the App Store, it was free to download … it wasn’t like Epic where you had an alternative payment option, you couldn’t pay at all.

Yen also mentions how they couldn’t update their app even for security reasons. He claims Apple threatened to remove the app if the company delayed adding IAP. Finally, ProtonMail gave up and raised the price of its service by 26% to absorb App Store fees.

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