It’s nonsense, and I cannot but believe Apple will reverse course.
As John Gruber wrote in a blog post entitled, “The Flimsiness of ‘Business vs. Consumer’ as a Justification for Apple’s Rejection of Hey From the App Store for Not Using In-App Purchases”:
on its surface this business/consumer distinction seems untenable.
First, no such distinction is made in the App Store Review Guidelines. The lone instance of “consumer” refers to the “Consumer Health Records API”. The price that Basecamp pays for not supporting in-app purchase in their iOS app is that they lose whatever number of users would have signed up in-app but won’t sign up out-of-app. That’s competition. Again, putting aside arguments that Apple should allow apps to use their own payment systems in apps, or be able to link to a website for sign up, or at the very least just tell users how to sign up — the makers of an app should be able to say “OK, we won’t even tell users how to sign up within our app; our app is only for existing customers and we’ll obtain all of them outside the app”. That seems to be well within the written rules of the App Store Guidelines.
Second, how could such a distinction be made in writing? There are some apps that are definitely “business services” and some that are definitely “consumer products” (games for example), but to say that the area in between encompasses many shades of gray is an understatement. The entire mobile era of computing — an era which Apple itself has inarguably largely defined — is about the obliteration of distinct lines between business and consumer products.
By sheer coincidence, before this controversy erupted I switched (at least temporarily) my public contact address for Daring Fireball to my @hey.com email address. I’m paying for Hey using the same company credit card I use to pay for Basecamp. How is that not a business service? I’m sure as shit reporting it to my accountant that way. Who exactly is paying $100/year for email service and not using it for business in some way?
I’m not trying to be coy, but what is the iPhone itself? A business device or a consumer product?
Using or instead of and as the conjunction there is clearly laughable. iPhones (and iPads, and Macs, and AirPods, and just about everything else Apple makes) are both serious work-related business devices and totally fun great-for-play consumer products — often for the very same people. The same is true for almost any communication service. Is Apple’s own iMessage for business or consumers? Of course it’s both.
[ . . . ]
Here, to me, is the only sensible response to any attempt to draw a stuffy distinction between “business” and “consumer” computing.