According to a revelation by Congress, US tech companies such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be sitting monopolies. Last week Congress revealed that Apple had forced email app provider ProtonMail to include in-app purchases to its app even though the app has been free.
ProtonMail forced to monetize a free app
ProtonMail, just like WordPress, was forced to monetize its free app despite Apple approving the app for two years without them. In testimony to Congress, the developer indicated that when it notified its customers of the change, the iPhone maker threatened to remove the ProtonMail app and blocked all updates.
Andy Yen, the CEO of ProtonMail, revealed that the Cupertino-based company pushed them to monetize their free app. Yen told Congress that in 2018 Apple asked for monetization of the app with an IAP option, which was an odd change considering the app had been available in the App Store since 2016 as a free service.
In an interview with The Verge, Yen said that Hey and WordPress were not the only developers being arm-twisted by Apple for months. Recently reports indicated that Apple had pushed over 21 different developers to ad IAP. Until now, not many developers have publicly admitted to being pushed to add IAP because they were scared, and Yen says they are still scared.
Developers afraid to speak against Apple
On September 11, 2020, Apple changed its rules, exempting free apps that act as standalone to a paid internet-based tool form IAP rule. However, Apple said that email apps are exempt, but Yen says ProtonMail has not removed its IAP because they are afraid of Apple’s retaliation. He added that developers are afraid of retaliation from Apple, and they are petrified to come out.
ProtonMail is among the founders of the Coalition of App Fairness, including Spotify, Epic Games, Match, Tile, and others against Apple’s rules. The group has pulled developers together who will form a united front against Apple.