I am a big believer in the sanctity of licenses. (Open source relies on licenses and copyright.) We agreed to this license when we signed up for (and stayed in) the app store, so going to follow and abide by the rules. Not looking to skirt it, hence doing what they asked us to.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) August 21, 2020
According to Mullenweg, WordPress’s app hasn’t been updated because the App Store locked it due to a lack of in-app purchases (IAP) for WordPress.com plans. “To be able to ship updates and bug fixes again we had to commit to support in-app purchases for .com plans,” he said. He even asked for suggestions on how to proceed.
WordPress’s current structure apparently goes against the payment section of Apple’s developer agreement, hence the lock. This disagreement is similar to that between Apple and Epic Games, maker of Fortnite. Epic recently introduced a new way to pay for V-Bucks (in-game currency) via “Epic direct payment,” which offers players a 20 percent discount. If players bought V-Bucks via Apple or Android, they’d have to pay full price.
Apple and Google both subsequently removed the game from their respective stores, citing direct payment as being against developer guidelines. Epic Games released a statement and called the move “retaliation.”
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
Epic Games has since filed lawsuits against both Apple and Google. It’s unclear if WordPress will take the same litigious route – Mullenweg indicated that’s not his plan right now – but it may be a sign of more developer battles to come.