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Purism pulls Librem Tunnel from iStore claiming unfair practices

by on22 March 2021

Jobs demanded more money with menaces again 

Security outfit Purism has had to pull its Librem Tunnel from Apple's app store because of its "unfair business practices".

For those who came in late, in 2019 Purism launched a suite of privacy-protecting, no-tracking apps and services named Librem One. And it included an encrypted, no-logging, virtual private network tunnel named Librem Tunnel.

The issue was Apple's policy that applications that make in-app purchases or offer subscriptions using Apple's payment platform pay Apple a third of their revenue.

"The justification behind that fee is that companies are benefiting from all of the work Apple has put into its payments platform and so the fee helps them maintain that payments infrastructure while saving app developers from having to implement their own payment or subscription infrastructure", the company said.

While the company has lived with that for a while, recently its VPN endpoints changed, which required it to update the Librem Tunnel application. Unfortunately Purism's attempts to push an update were blocked, because Apple saw that the application was a VPN, which flagged it to check whether it was a subscription service - which VPNs frequently are.

Even though Librem Tunnel was just part of the overall Librem One offering, because it's part of a subscription service, Apple demanded that the company add the ability to sign up and pay for Librem One subscriptions within the Librem Tunnel app before they will allow updated versions into the App Store.

"Why are they making that requirement even though we already have our own independent payment infrastructure? Because once that app allows in-app purchases, Apple can then automatically take their 30 percent cut", the company said.

"We do not accept these kinds of monopolistic practices, nor do we want to fund them through our own customers. Since Apple does not allow alternatives to the App Store on their platform, we have no choice but to remove Librem Tunnel from iOS, until such time Apple changes their policies either on their own or through government intervention", the company wrote.

Last modified on 22 March 2021
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