Let’s just go through HEY CEO’s take on Apple’s App Store payment policies.

It’s about the absence of choice.

HEY customers have less choice now, they only can subscribe through the web.

It prevents us from providing exceptional customer service when someone who uses our product needs help.

You should not be forced to contact customer service for a cancellation or a refund. App Store allows you to do it in a couple of seconds.

When someone signs up for your product in the App Store, they aren’t technically your customer anymore - they are essentially Apple’s customer.

No, they still your customer, HEY. If you use Square for the payments on the web, your customers don’t become Square customers. Square just handles payments, as App Store does.

We provide hardship exceptions for all sorts of reasons. We discount our software for teachers. We provide free versions for first responders.

These people have to find a time to contact HEY and be dependant on the competency of HEY employees. Why not allow your product to be used for free in a limited way? Or offer discounts for everyone, which is possible with In-App Purchase (IAP) for new and existing subscribers.

Let’s say someone signs up for HEY on an iPhone, pays with Apple’s IAP system, and then decides to switch to an Android phone. Billing is entirely messed up now. They can’t update their credit card through the HEY app on Android because their billing info is stored with Apple. And we can’t help them.

IAP allows Server-to-Server Notifications. If your product available elsewhere, you could verify subscription status through Apple, and offer your customer an option to subscribe through the website, start billing them as soon as IAP subscription expires. I don’t see why HEY can’t do that. It is possible to have several payment methods on a single account. It’s not difficult to unsubscribe from IAP subscription if users decide to switch from iPhone, and this subscription would remain active even when auto-renewal is cancelled.

in app purchases are one of the most hostile customer experiences I’ve seen. Sure, the purchase part is relatively easy (most modern purchase flows are these days), but that’s where Apple stops

IAP is superior in speed, security, and privacy to any modern payment flow. No HEY, it doesn’t stops after the purchase is complete. IAP handles subscription management, refunds, renewals, Billing Grace Period, Push Notifications, and offers for retaining and attracting new customers.

Update: HEY was approved

As of Jun 22, HEY team adding a free version and update was approved. This proves that strict App Store rules, although sometimes vague and not fairly enforced, contribute to positive changes and superior user experiences than web or Android.