While the war between Apple and Epic Games wages on, another battle drew the ire of the internet at the weekend though to a lesser extent than the former.
That battle was with WordPress. Many websites around the world make use of the content management system which just so happens to have a mobile app that lets you make edits and manage a website on the move.
That app caused a headache for founding developer of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, on Friday when they tweeted out that updates for WordPress’ iOS app were absent.
The reason? According to Mullenweg it was because WordPress mentioned the availability of a premium WordPress.com tier.
What is curious is that there was seemingly no way to purchase a WordPress Premium subscription through the iOS app, users weren’t even given the option to pay upon creating a website there.
According to The Verge, the offending mention of a premium tier was buried deep within support pages or it could be discovered by navigating to the WordPress website.
The developer offered to block access to those pages but Apple wasn’t having any of it and so Mullenweg bowed and agreed to add in-app purchases to its iOS app. Keep in mind that Apple takes 30 percent of all purchases made through the App Store.
However, on Sunday, Apple appeared to do a complete turnaround on the situation.
“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,” the Cupertino colossus said in a statement to The Verge.
But hang on Apple, there was no way for folks to make a payment to WordPress through the iOS app, it was your firm that forced that wanted it to add in-app purchases where once there weren’t any.
I am very grateful that folks at Apple re-reviewed @WordPressiOS and have let us know we do not need to implement in-app purchases to be able to continue to update the app. Bad news travels faster than good, usually, so please consider sharing that they reversed course.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) August 23, 2020
This was seemingly a massive overreach from Apple.
While Epic Games might’ve pushed the envelope a few weeks back, WordPress was seemingly in the clear. Several users reported that the WordPress iOS app never offered in-app purchases to begin with and that looks bad for Apple.
WordPress does offer a premium product, this is true but it complied with Apple’s rules (and avoided a 30 percent payment to the firm) by not offering these payment options through its app.
The problem has already been resolved but we’re curious to see if Apple tries this with any other developers or if it was a simple mistake.