Basecamp vs. Apple: The Epic Battle Continues Over Hey’s Calendar App


Battle Continues Over Hey’s Calendar App: The ongoing conflict between software company Basecamp and tech behemoth Apple entered its latest chapter recently, sparked by Apple’s rejection of Basecamp’s new standalone calendar app. Citing violations of its in-app purchase policies, Apple’s decision represents déjà vu back to its similar blocking of the launch of Basecamp’s Hey email app in 2020. The tech giant’s controversial App Store rules related to subscriptions and revenue sharing requirements are central to the intensifying dispute, which Basecamp contends are unfair and punitive toward developers.

Apple’s Stringent App Store Restrictions

At the core of the dispute lies Apple’s stringent policy mandating apps enable subscription sign-ups or unlocking access to core app functionality, which must also offer in-app purchases tied to Apple’s payment systems. This guarantees Apple collects its standard 30% cut from all such transactions, setting the stage for recurring conflicts with developers like Basecamp resisting excessive fees. Further inflaming tensions are Apple’s notoriously vague policies and arbitrarily enforced guidelines governing iOS apps allowed in its walled garden App Store.

Basecamp Petitions For App Approval

Seeking to break the latest impasse after multiple rejections of its calendar app submission, Basecamp integrated calendar functionality directly into its Hey email platform, hoping separation from core features would ease approval. The company simultaneously built and resubmitted a pared-down but standalone Hey Calendar app to adhere to Apple’s subscription rules. However, Apple again denied the app, upholding its controversial mandate that apps must implement in-app purchases to unlock any subscription access.

Escalating Tensions After The 2020 Hey Dispute

The current dispute marks a heightening of tensions after similar controversies first erupted in 2020 when Apple blocked Basecamp’s launch of its Hey email service over nearly identical violations of App Store policies. After significant criticism questioning the anti-competitive nature of Apple’s requirements, Apple finally permitted Hey’s release but implemented functionality limitations for non-paying users, requiring them to subscribe to Hey’s website to access full email capabilities.

David Heinemeier Hansson’s Outspoken Criticism

Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson has spearheaded vocal condemnation of Apple’s App Store restrictions. He has frequently compared Hey to numerous apps, including Google Calendar and Netflix, that prohibit iOS in-app subscription sign-ups to avoid paying Apple’s standard 30% platform fees. Hansson also contends mandating users manage all app memberships solely through Apple’s iCloud ecosystem concentrates excessive account control under Apple while amplifying privacy and security risks.

Hansson Rejects Apple’s “Protection Money” Demands

In response to Apple upholding its policy requirements, Hansson has adopted an unwaveringly defiant posture. He has firmly rejected calls for Basecamp to implement in-app purchases in its apps and offer Apple a 30% first-year revenue cut, which he likens to “protection money” paid to mafia organizations. Despite Apple’s pressure, Hansson insists Basecamp will adhere to its principles, maintaining confidence they can again successfully circumvent the technology behemoth’s attempts to extract lucrative fees from its apps.

An Enduring Standoff

With Apple and Basecamp refusing to yield any ground, an enduring standoff ensued. All eyes remain fixed on Basecamp’s next move to bypass Apple’s self-imposed tollbooth potentially. Central unresolved questions turn on whether Basecamp can successfully navigate, subvert, and overcome Apple’s unyielding policy barriers and financial demands tied to iPhone app subscriptions.

Inconsistent Enforcement of Vague Policies

For years, Apple’s App Store rules have faced increasing criticism related to antitrust issues and anti-competitive practices. While Apple claims a standard 30% transaction fee cut across most app monetization models, App Store guidelines carve out limited exceptions for certain apps dubbed “readers” like Spotify and Kindle. However, developers widely argue the arbitrary enforcement of vague, inconsistently interpreted policy language often precipitates conflicts with Apple tied to subscriptions and payments.

The Broader Ramifications

This ongoing dispute between Basecamp and Apple symbolizes more significant concerns around Apple’s unchecked power over app developers who rely on fair access to Apple’s industry-leading App Store platform to reach the company’s vast iPhone user base. It highlights the pressing need for oversight reforms and policies ensuring app marketplaces support innovation and equal competition rather than stifling developers under unreasonable regulations and financial burdens. The eventual conflict outcome will substantially sway future dynamics between app creators and mobile platform gatekeepers.

Support Across The Developer Community

Basecamp has garnered vocal support from scores of developers at large and small development shops across the ecosystem. They argue Basecamp presents a textbook case example underscoring the immense challenges app creators face when forced to either hand over 30% of hard-earned subscription revenue or endlessly navigate Apple’s vaguely defined and shifting rules to distribute iPhone apps.

Apple Stands Firm Against Reform

Despite swelling opposition, Apple staunchly defends its App Store policies and commission structure. The company contends loosening its strict ecosystem oversight or requirements on developers would irrevocably degrade user security and privacy. Furthermore, it argues the enormous reach of the App Store justifies its revenue-sharing model, considering the massive financial opportunities apps stand to gain from iPhone and iPad distribution. However, critics widely counter that Apple prioritizes its bottom line above fostering an equitable iOS app marketplace that sufficiently supports innovation.


In conclusion, the intensifying clash between Basecamp and Apple related to App Store control policies has now spanned over a decade with no resolution in sight. With both technology firms refusing to yield on their positions, many observers believe the conflict effectively showcases the pressing need for oversight reforms addressing perceived platform gatekeeper abuses suffocating competition. As this latest dispute continues escalating without compromise, the eventual outcome may substantially shape long-awaited App Store reforms to establish a more balanced marketplace dynamic for all developers.

For similar Content, Please follow mobiletechexplorers

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox