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Apple tried to force WordPress to charge

by on24 August 2020

Told it to add in in-app purchases so it could make money

Fruity cargo cult Apple nearly found itself in the middle of yet another antitrust claim after it tried to force WordPress to in-app purchases so it could score a 30 percent cut of the money.

For those who came in late, WordPress, the iOS app, lets you build and manage a website right from your iPhone or iPad, for free. On the side WordPress sells domain names and pretty website packages.

However, Jobs' Mob realised that it was not making enough cash from WordPress and had a go at strong arming it into changing things.

WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg said that Apple said it would cut off the ability to update that app — until or unless he adds in-app purchases so the most valuable company in the world can extract its 30 percent cut of the money.

When Mullenweg pointed out that as the WordPress app on iOS didn't sell anything, the whole thing was unfair.  

Apple admitted to The Verge that in-app purchases are required whenever apps “allow users to access content, subscriptions, or features they have acquired in your app on other platforms or your web site”.

But the WordPress app doesn’t sell anything itself, and it sounds like you can’t do anything special with anything you’ve purchased from (beyond uploading additional files or selecting website themes) from the app, either. Wordpress offered to delete the only part of the software where IOS users could see a link to its paid services, but Apple said no.

Mullenweg told The Verge he’s not going to fight it anymore, though — he will add brand-new in-app purchases for’s paid tiers, which include domain names, within 30 days. Apple has agreed to allow Automattic to update the app while it waits. (The last update was issued yesterday.) In other words, Apple bullied him into monetise an app so it could make more money.

Interestingly, Mullenweg tells us his tweet was really for the WordPress community, not necessarily to rile up anger against the Apple tax; he says he anticipates pushback from the community when they suddenly see WordPress asking them if they’d like to purchase a .com upgrade.

Apparently, after The Verge got its story out, Apple has decided it won’t force this issue after all.


Last modified on 24 August 2020
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