Apple Backs Off In-App Purchase Requirement Demands for WordPress

After demanding that WordPress include in-app purchases so they can charge 30%, a report is surfacing that says that Apple is backing off this requirement.

Yesterday, we brought you news that said that Apple is demanding WordPress implement in-app purchases. Apple had blocked all updates to WordPress in their app store unless they implement those features. Of course, the problem is that WordPress is free and open source, so there really isn’t anything being sold necessarily. Eventually, WordPress caved and said that they will rework the app to include those in-app purchases.

Now, a report is surfacing saying that Apple is backing off the requirement to have in-app purchases. From 9to5Mac:

As reported by Mark Gurman, Apple said today in a statement that WordPress has agreed to update its iOS app to remove any mention of its paid services. As a result, the WordPress app for iOS is once again allowed on the App Store without In-App Purchases.

We believe the issue with 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.

What is odd about this is that the previous report mentioned how WordPress offered to remove all mentions of premium domains, but that wasn’t good enough. It seems that removing mentions in the app is now good enough and WordPress is free to continue updating the app in the app store.

Still, this is a pretty heavy handed tactic employed by Apple in the first place. Instead of just blocking all updated in the app store unless strict demands are met, why couldn’t the developer just be notified of an issue first and be asked to resolve it? Just issue a notice basically saying, “Hey, we noticed that there is a way to make purchases with WordPress and we have determined that this actually violates the rules. Can you resolve this? We can be contacted at [insert contact information] if you have any questions.” The way this was handled, you’d think WordPress is some dodgy individual that only understands repercussions. That is clearly not the case here.

An argument can easily be made that this situation could have been handled much better. If this boils down to a simple misunderstanding, then blocking updates like that isn’t even close to being necessary. Apple is already facing scrutiny with the whole Fortnite/Epic case, why throw more fuel onto the fire with this one?

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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