back to article Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

A new email service called Hey aims to solve issues with one of the internet's oldest standards – but Apple will not allow the iOS client into its app store unless the maker pays Cupertino "15-30 per cent of our revenue." Hey comes from Basecamp, the company (originally called 37signals) founded by Ruby on Rails inventor David …

  1. quxinot Silver badge

    If "imbox" is 'innovation', then please keep it away from me.

    And wash your hands.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Agreed. There's nothing to see here that couldn't be done with a spam blocker and a few email rules.

      I agree that spam blocking is far from perfect, but no different to having to approve all the senders for email to be visible in your 'imbox'

    2. Halfmad Silver badge

      Honestly not sure why I'd want to pay that much to view the selection of trash in the demo imbox..

      If I'm not getting $99 of value or better from it then I'm damn sure I won't pay for it. I also don't like the idea of linking to a service that can go bust and I lose it all..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I had a similar reaction. Too cute, too much $$

        for 99$ a year I can get unlimited email accounts and a web hosting package with domain registration. That said, Microsoft, Amazon, and plenty of others are delusional enough to think I want to pay 4-5$ per mailbox per month. I do not.

        This service is too expensive, too cutesy, and too walled off to make sense for me. I can see why they are freaking out though, as most of their customer base probably owns an iPhone. And 30% is a big cut to ask. That said, I hope the EU hands apple a slice of it's own hide at trial. Not really kosher to strong arm the little guy while letting Outlook sail by.

        And even if I don't want to use it, If it jump starts interest in getting the ball rolling again on developing new email innovations, I may like the next project that comes along, and it may inspire some of the existing players to implement some of the advances in a less creepy way then Gmail.

        Also, Gmail is terrible. Who thinks making things that look just like windows but aren't windows and don't act like windows is ever a good idea? They also championed the current trend of invisible controls that only appear if you accidentally mouse over them. User hostile design if ever I saw it.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I had a similar reaction. Too cute, too much $$

          "getting the ball rolling again on developing new email innovations"

          Mandate a phase -n of PGP. By default the MX record also points to the public key server with an option to have a separate public key server. User can keep their private key(s) on their mail clients.

          Oh, no, that wouldn't work. The webmail services wouldn't be able to read their customers' users' mail. I suppose they'd offer to hold the keys for them.

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: I had a similar reaction. Too cute, too much $$

            They'd have to hold onto the keys otherwise webmail services wouldn't work.

            It's one of the key indicators of an insecure file service - are files accessible using a web interface? Yep, then it's insecure.

            But then all security is a balance of security vs convenience/access.

      2. ROC

        Especially if they "retain" all attachments. Not mine!

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      RE: quxinot

      It's innovative because it misspells "Inbox" as "imbox". That's quirky. Investors must already be lined up out the door to chuck money at them.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: RE: quxinot

        "Quirky" - a word that defines absolutely nothing. Anyone who uses it seriously needs to be shunned.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: RE: quxinot

          "a word that defines absolutely nothing"

          Quirky is a polite way of saying weird.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RE: quxinot

            in this case, it's a polite way of saying "noroms".

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: RE: quxinot

        As opposed to "mbox".

    4. Jonjonz

      An email client with filters, all the major email providers have had that for ages.

      Most people are too lazy to work filter systems, and once the newness wears off will do the same with Hey, and before you know it, their inbox is just as crammed with crap as any other email system.

  2. Chris the bean counter Bronze badge

    reply later

    is a good idea. Hopefully will be copied by others

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: reply later

      Except perhaps they'll have a business plan which doesn't include "when we get to the stage of launching the app let's bitch and moan about apple because they won't drop fees for us because we're super special"

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: reply later

        While I suspect they should have known (and probably did know) the situation before they started, it is a timely lesson on the problems of monopolies.

        User A purchases a phone from Apple. User A can't install an application from Vendor B unless Vendor B gives Apple a 30% cut?

        I know Apple is providing the installation repository for Vendor B to use - but they specifically prevent Vendor B from using any other repository.

        I think this is a bit immoral. This is no longer, "pay for a service you want and we provide" its more of a shake-down.

        1. Negative Charlie

          Re: reply later

          > User A purchases a phone from Apple. User A can't install an application from Vendor B unless Vendor B gives Apple a 30% cut?

          Then Vendor B increases their price by 42% and User A switches to a 'droid. Everyone wins - at least, everyone who matters.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: reply later

      In most mail clients, file -> new folder -> enter "Reply later" in name field. If your IMAP server is not tightly controlled, they can even sync it for you. Setting that up might require a desktop client but a mobile client should be able to add the mailbox if you sync it. Admittedly, having that built in rather than having to create it might be easier for some people, but otherwise it's not that big a feature.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: reply later

        This is true but it's still a drag and drop if the client doesn't also support adding something like a right click option or a "File this in pending" option. Personally I'd like to see clients not only providing this but also not allowing a message to stay in the inbox after it's been read. Provide at least some form of filing even if it's only "All emails from year yyyy". And delete all messages from Trash after a few days.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: reply later

          "Personally I'd like to see clients not only providing this but also not allowing a message to stay in the inbox after it's been read."

          I take it your choices would be to move it to a folder or immediately delete it? That will certainly annoy the users.

          "Provide at least some form of filing even if it's only 'All emails from year yyyy'."

          Don't we have that with the advanced search feature? Mine lets me set date ranges, filters on from and to and CC and BCC fields, and lots of other options including regexes. Also, this is going to seem weird with the next suggestion:

          "And delete all messages from Trash after a few days."

          Which will lead to people never deleting any message. A lot of people use their email as a record they can comb through later. They may not always know they'll need a message a month from now, so they keep a bunch of archived messages to search through. Not efficient, no, but they want it. Removing that feature or designing features specifically to thwart them will just lead to annoyance on their part.

          I wouldn't expect many others to use your client if you write it.

    3. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: reply later

      Outlook has a "followup" flag you can put on an email, with categories and a duration and reminders and being able to filter on them.

      E.g. right-click->followup->today

      right-click->followup->tomorrow.

    4. FatGerman

      Re: reply later

      What's different about a 'reply later' feature and a folder called 'reply later' into which you put anything you want to, er, reply to later?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: reply later

        >What's different about a 'reply later' feature and a folder called 'reply later'

        Depends on implementation.

        A "Reply Later" button along side the "Reply" button does simply the process and makes it consistent across users. Also an integrated reply later button etc. potentially allows for some workflow such as attaching a note to help the memory as to why you wanted to reply later and putting some constraints on when you need to have completed the reply later action.

        So nothing that isn't actually possible in say Outlook - ie. you could create an add-on with the necessary integrated functionality, just that it's there in the box and thus supported...

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Email already passé?

    I've heard anecdotal evidence that email is already becoming passé with businesses moving to Slack/Teams/Hangouts/etc and individuals using Facebook/Whatsapp/etc.

    With the likes of Google, Microsoft, et al offering free email services, I think paid for email/messaging is a tough market to be in.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Email already passé?

      The problem with Slack/Teams/Hangouts etc. and FB/WA is that they are all siloed. You have to be on that service.

      For example, WhatsApp breaks GDPR and is theoretically illegal to use in Europe (although millions still do). So we use Signal and Threema, but their penetration is small, compared to WA.

      For Slack and Teams, when it is internal communication, as long as the user has Teams etc. you can communicate with them. External is more error prone and makes people jump through hoops.

      Email is universal. All servers"speak the same language".

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Email already passé?

        That's the problem with any messaging service. You need the recipient of every message to be on that service. Virtually everyone who is on the Internet is available on email, and as it's a fairly well defined standard, you don't need to subscribe to a particular email service to send emails to others. Any sender can send to any receiver.

        These services all have their advantages though, as it sounds like "Hey" does. I can see a few problems with it though. If you aren't allowed a signature, that may be a problem for some enterprise customers. Where I work, for instance, we are required to include various statements in our signature, including name, address, telephone or fax number and some pre-defined text.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Stuart Castle - Re: Email already passé?

          You can simply copy and paste those various statements at the bottom of your message instead of a signature, can't you ?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: @Stuart Castle - Email already passé?

            You can, but doing it automatically means you don't have to. If you need to, want to, or have any inclination to whatsoever, the automatic feature is nicer. Taking it away rather than just not turning it on will probably annoy people who want signatures. While it doesn't affect me because I don't have a signature, others won't be so fine with it.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: @Stuart Castle - Email already passé?

              In theory signatures, after the dash-dash-space-newline, can be auto-snipped on reply (Outlook doesn't like to do it though), which slows the growth of messages that are replied and passed around. Auto-added disclaimers are a pain in the backside for this, often being longer than the email itself, and in Wales, public bodies are required to write the same thing twice, once in Welsh, once in English.

              M.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Tops vs Bottoms redux

                Of course you already can get into arguments with people who flame you for deleting the back messages in the thread, forcing them to dig though their own inbox for the reply that they either can't find(packrats) or already deleted(inbox zero mutants or companies with CYA Evi... er, data destruction policies).

                Even then, you have the Jurassic era flame war of top or bottom posting.

                So yeah, stripping that cruft in the client actually has some merits I think.

                1. A K Stiles Silver badge

                  Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

                  All of these issues pale to naught when the email system encounters colleagues like some of mine where they will answer questions in an email by replying with the answers scattergunned throughout the original message rather than above or below.

                  They also have a tendency to just pick a conveniently located previous email and reply to it without changing the subject or clearing history when they want to contact you about something new and completely unrelated to the replied-to email, rather than clicking 'new message' and typing a name and relevant subject.

                  Build me an email system that can cope with those things and I might start to be interested...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

                    SO agree, repying with answers in the original message is such a terrible thing to do and when the next person adds their comments, what a mess. Just copy relevant bits to the top!

                    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                      Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

                      I respectfully disagree. There are times when replying inline can be far more succinct and easy to follow. Copying the "relevant" bits to the top and replying to them there can lead to things being taken out of context, makes it harder to follow if related items are missed or out of sequence, and bloats the mail thread more than replying inline.

                      At my work, if we reply inline we'll prefix a reply with our initials, and colour-code it so it stands out. Not perfect, but makes it easier to follow and identify who said what.

                      Personally, the question of inline responses is almost trivial compared to multiple people top-posting replies at the same time to the same email. That gets out of sync real fast. Ability to merge multiple replies into a single master (oops, apparently can't say that any more - well bite me, it's the appropriate term) response would be a massive help here.

                      As ever, one size never fits all. Sometimes reply inline is a good thing, sometimes not. Context is king, and being dogmatically attached to one way or the other, then flaming anyone who doesn't follow your point of view, seems a rather pointless waste of time.

                  2. Snapper

                    Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

                    I think you'd need an automated cattle-prod for that!

                  3. Martin an gof Silver badge

                    Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

                    Isn't that just the old Usenet tradition of "inline" replies? It works really, really well with text-based email clients where the things can indent quotes properly and it really really doesn't work at all with Outlook, which just doesn't understand how to quote.

                    M.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: @Stuart Castle - Email already passé?

            >You can simply copy and paste those various statements at the bottom of your message instead of a signature

            Why?

            Outlook (for example) allows me to create a 'signature', get it formatted correctly, tick a box and job done, never have to worry (or explicitly do a copy-paste with all its associated lookups and clicks) again. Also, I can now distribute that signature as the company standard asking people to simply replace relevant details with their details - now all employees emails are signed consistently.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Email already passé?

          "including name, address, telephone or fax number and some pre-defined text"

          And quite often the pre-defined text includes an instruction not to read this email is it wasn't intended for you, placed, of course, at the end where you only see it after you've read the entire message.

      2. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: Email already passé?

        Is that GDPR claim based on the contact list uploading thingy I just read about? I've personally never touched the thing, I was hearing about fundamental security issues with its design back in the early days and now it's Just Another Facebook Product.

        Email is universal, but it's also old and ropey and heaped with proprietary extensions and headers and other assorted nonsenses. I'm honestly surprised that a gold-standard open source replacement hasn't come to the fore yet. Way too many companies wanting to do their own thing and then also "diversify" into a swamp of unwanted services and bloat. I'm seeing more and more friends pop up on Signal over the past couple of years though, which is nice.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Email already passé?

          Yes. WhatsApp loads the contacts onto their US servers and shares it with Facebook. That isn't allowed under GDPR.

          Signal, on the other hand checks contracts against a hash, AFAIK.

        2. Corporate Scum

          Open source replacement

          It's the xkcd problem:

          xkcd.com/927/

          The next standard just ends up as the next proprietary extension if no one else adopts it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slack is just pretty IRC

        and no more viable as an email replacement for the same reasons as ICQ, AIM, Yahoo, and Google Chat before it. Single line text chat ties your hands up, while creating an expectation of constant communication. It's almost always slower than just talking. Also, even with persistent storage, short messages are a terrible replacement for email, which is better suited to long form writing.

        Try to trade recipes via Slack and you will see what I mean. Slack is more of an alternate to SMS messages, but will never break the carriers stranglehold on the market. So they go after email, which thanks to google and the spammers, is vulnerable and dwindling in popularity, if not use. Same for voice calls. When people have to slog or suffer through masses of junk messages or calls, they start avoiding the whole platform. How many of you have had to text ahead to arrange a voice call, or ensure an email gets read, when you are dealing with someone under 30?

      4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Email already passé?

        The issue with this particular app is that tries to silo e-mail. Which defeats the purpose.

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Email already passé?

      Having battled with Gmail/Gsuite on a daily basis in a corporate environment I can cheerfully say that Google is busily shooting itself in the foot and hastening the demise of email via Gmail. I never thought I'd see the day when I uttered "Come back Outlook, you were great" on such a regular basis.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Email already passé?

        My Gmail account is just a collecting ground for site registrations that are unimportant and where I suspect it will be bombarded with spam.

        Everything else goes to one of my "real" email addresses.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Email already passé?

          Stuff that matters goes to one of my real email addresses. There's intermediate stuff which goes to Hotmail.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Email already passé?

      E-mail really just works. If you don't like your provider it's pretty damn easy to move all your old e-mail as long as you control the domain. This is example of why standard protocols are good.

      Some people think that these IRC-like services will solve the problem of too much e-mail. Until the network effect kicks in and you're back to square one. Or worse, because chat is really inefficient. On a service which now owns your data: lock-in that you pay for.

      Some companies (KLM) are trying to move to WhatsApp for customer service, probably because they benefit from the metadata that Facebook can provide them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you don't like your provider it's pretty damn easy to move

        Funny how that is. I changed providers because they kept moving my mail server to a different box and breaking my DNS mappings without telling me. I complained and downgraded my service, and in response they transferred my account to another box without moving my mail or my website. They then made one back up of the the empty box and deleted all of backups of the old one, along with the live site and 12 years of email. It also took 3 phone calls and 4 chat session to puzzle that out.

        Thanks Bluehost!

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Email already passé?

      "businesses moving to Slack/Teams/Hangouts/etc"

      That's fine for internal communication, I guess, but I don't think you'll find IBM sharing Teams with Apple any time soon.

      Between companies, you still need regular old email.

      And as for individuals, God preserve me from a day where I have to have a FaceBook account to send my daughter or my wife something. I don't see how giving my life up to that slimeball is better than email.

  4. Mark192 Bronze badge

    The Google and Apple app stores, with their fat margins, are obvious targets for being fragmented on monopoly grounds.

    It'd be a good idea for them to start providing better resources to reduce malware etc and more flexible terms to reduce the clamour for change from developers... but maybe they'll just decide that fat profits in the short term is the best approach.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Forced?

      Nobody is forced to provide their apps on the Apple Store - it's a commercial choice. If 30% is charged, then factor that in to the pricing. If you can't do that and still make the desired profit, rethink or go elsewhere. If Hey is so good, people will pay for it (though I agree with what seems to be the consensus here - that it does nothing that can't already be done in the existing, free, apps, by the people who might actually consider looking at alternatives). The complaint reads like marketing hype - make a fuss to get headlines; I'd not heard of Hey until now and, having looked at it's description on the store, realise why.

      I use Apple kit <flameproof outfit> and find Apple's own Mail apps do all I need for the dozen or so accounts I have. One plus point is that they don't try to be anything other than straightforward email apps. They don't try to tell me which emails are more important than others (beyond Junk, which they don't try to hide, just shift to a second inbox, and highlighting mail from senders I've flagged as VIP). </flameproof outfit>

      I use Thunderbird on my Linux box - again, an app that doesn't try to be all things - it receives and send email, and lets me sort local stores into folders that make sense to me.

      I'd like to sell Ferrari's in my neighbourhood for the same price as a Ford Focus - I'd make a fortune if wasn't for Ferrari's markup!

      If you ever watch Dragon's Den, consider the markups that get discussed there - it's not unusually something costing £5 to make, to be sold to retailers for £20 and then £40 to the consumer. A 100% markup is often derided by the dragons, so whilst Apple's 30% cut may seem outrageous, it's not unusual in the overall marketplace. And, as I started saying, nobody is forced to buy it. Apple's market share of mobile phones is only around 20%, so they hardly have a monopoly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Forced?

        VCs are looking for things with enormous margins so they have an opportunity to squeeze overheads (not included in the raw manufacturing cost you mention) and thus pro£it.

        Also,please remember that television programmes that seem to represent the more exciting aspects of business are entertainment, not reality. Otherwise, to take an extreme case, you might end up electing a failing businessman who acts a successful one on a game show.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forced?

          My other car is also a Trabant.

          "... you might end up electing a failing businessman who acts a successful one on a game show."

          Sorry, that could never happen ........ ever !!!

          ;)

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Forced?

        "If you ever watch Dragon's Den, consider the markups that get discussed there - it's not unusually something costing £5 to make, to be sold to retailers for £20 and then £40 to the consumer."

        There is something to that calculation that often gets ignored. The £5 is just the manufacturing price. It doesn't include payments to staff, investment in reducing manufacturing prices, rent on physical company presence, or R&D into new products. For quite a good reason, as those prices change a lot and are tricky to calculate anyway. For people who start a company, they probably aren't drawing a salary in the first place and can take risks, but if they have to hire phone support, they will still have to pay wages for it. However, seeing £5->£20->£40 and assuming this means £15 profit for the manufacturer and £20 profit for the retailer isn't correct.

  5. ivan5

    Now where have I seen something like that? I know, a text only e-mail client that allows filtering of incoming mail into various sub-folders that you can define and even allow moving a mail to one of those folders. Strange I have been using that since the mid 1990s. The fact it is text only prevents the 'click on a link' problem and I can see the full url although the spam filter tends to sort them out now after years of learning.

    Oh, I forgot, it is PMMail/2 running on OS/2.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Windows

      Ah, the OS/2 nostalgia wave that just broke on me...

      If you'll excuse me I'm going to go get my big OS/2 box out of the cupboard and give it a big hug. Then probably go for a quick cry...

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I'm sure people have been doing this with mutt since the 1970s…

      I'm currently using MailMate on MacOS for this kind of thing and Andew Cannion wrote a nice article on how to do the kind of things with MailMate (and SaneBox for the pattern-matched based stuff)

    3. VTAMguy

      or Pine

      Same advantages for pine (now alpine) - all text, no crap. Email from people is text, and I read it. Email from Corporate Entities is generally an attempt to reproduce a Corporate Web Page, and I decline to view that sort of drek. Especially likely to be seen as unwanted are those propaganda missives that include -only- an HTML part, as if their particular shouty message could only be expressed with the garish and vulgar typography they invariably select ("web designers"). Words have always been the best way for me to express and understand complex concepts, so if you're sending me pictures of Shiny Things and your words are "Buy This!", then you've made yourself rather unattractive in the competition for my attention.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: or Pine

        Perhaps worse - and certainly highly irritating - is the corporate habit of sending emails which are carefully formatted to look as if they are on the company headed paper and are too wide to fit in the viewing window of the company mandated viewer... and naturally, won't reflow as text ought to.

        A triumph of style over substance - though it's only in rare cases that the substance is anything to worry about...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: or Pine

          My large employer has managed one better: internal bulk emails use a formatting product that manages to produce an email that is always just too wide in Outlook, so you need to scroll horizontally to read the last half of the last word on each line.

          The truly amazing part is that re-sizing the window doesn't fix the problem - it just makes the line longer and the last word is still cut off! (At least on my laptop. Perhaps if I had a 5K desktop monitor just like the designers of this crap, the problems might magically go away.)

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: or Pine

          Not just corporate users. I sometimes get emails from my history group members which contain invisible photographs. I have to switch to View Message body as Original HTML.

          Maybe I need an add-on that bounces all HTML messages. Cut out the corporate crap and teach the Mac users to send plain text emails.

        3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: or Pine

          Much, much worse... organisations who convert the text into image files and then stuff these into emails to guarantee the formatting of their corporate messages.

          They also pretty much guarantee legal claims for a disgusting and intentional lack of accessibility, and prevent anyone from ever doing a text search and finding the relevant email.

          I've also suffered with tender documents rendered into .pdf form with the exact same problem, including page numbers that don't link in the contents page and documents that are unsearchable. All these tenders fail on the spot, no further scoring gets taken into consideration if they cannot produce a usable tender document.

          But then I also suffer with online quote approval systems which have the same problem - some even make it worse by "preventing" the user from zooming into the text rendered as an image by abusing Javascript to maintain the size of the image file containing the text.

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Now where have I seen something like that? I know, a text only e-mail client that allows filtering of incoming mail into various sub-folders that you can define and even allow moving a mail to one of those folders. Strange I have been using that since the mid 1990s. The fact it is text only prevents the 'click on a link' problem and I can see the full url although the spam filter tends to sort them out now after years of learning.
      Most email clients allow disabling HTML/inline downloading and forcing it text only or keeping HTML but only displaying embedded elements that are contained in the email itself.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        As per my reply above. I had someone trying to send me a photo for use in an article I was writing but the email appeared to be blank with no attachments. HTML had successfully hidden it from plain text view.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: So...

      How on earth do you organise anything with WhatsApp?

      1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: So...

        Hey, come on now. It's pretty common knowledge that the Government, and Parliament more widely, use WhatsApp groups for a wide range of different…oh right, I see now

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So...

        I thought it was just to be spammed by people going ZOMG SIGN UP TO THIS MESSAGING APP on my corporate phone number.

        People often stop responding to me when I ask if they have read the EULA (Top tip to get people to leave you alone!).

        1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

          Re: So...

          Does it work on Jehovah's Witnesses?

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: So...

            Asking them what their ranking is in the 44,000 tends to work with these

  7. wolfetone

    "Hansson claims Apple's App Store practices are "capricious, exploitive, and inconsistent." "

    Says the gobshite who can't be arsed getting it to work with standard email clients, and ransoms you to $99 as it stops him selling your data.

    Shove your imbox up your marse.

    1. SW10
      Thumb Down

      Busi-mess Plan

      ...and “we’re relying on the unstated rules of the App Store” was under the ‘Risks’ heading of his business plan.

      Am I right?

  8. autisticatheist
    FAIL

    Outrageous demand?

    The only outrageous demand is the $99 per year that these guys want for what is basically a few filters.

  9. iron Silver badge
    FAIL

    So the story here appears to be CEO of company doesn't mind proving he's a total idiot in public.

    Apple charge 30% on the AppStore. So do Google on Play. This has been the case since day one and everyone knows it.

    Pay it or don't publish on those stores.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Not exactly. If you use in-app purchasing, they do, and that's common knowledge. However, there are lots of apps that do not do that and yet get money. You sign up for an account, add a payment method in that account, and use the app to access the account. There are lots of those out there, and they don't get evicted. I'm guessing they don't get evicted because Apple doesn't want grumpy users of what are primarily apps created by big businesses. The fact remains, however, that many apps are out there which receive money from inside the app or require a subscription where none of the revenue goes directly to Apple. As much as I don't care about this app, there is a reason to complain if they tried the same model and got removed without consistency. Since Apple won't talk about exactly what they used to make the decision and this app will always try to present their actions in the best light, I cannot know if what I presume is true.

    2. Tessier-Ashpool

      Right, so how are you going to get your software installed on the massive user base who use iOS?

      I normally give the Fruity company a general nod, but their App Store is just a money machine for them and verging on the monopolistic when you look at how many people use iPhones and want to install apps. Bad Apple. It doesn't cost them much to host an app on their store, but they regard it as a cash cow.

      FFS, why isn't their cut something more reasonable like 1%?

      1. RM Myers Bronze badge
        Unhappy

        FFS, why isn't their cut something more reasonable like 1%?

        Because they make more money if it is 30%, and they don't give a toss about the developers or customers as long as they get the money? Seems like a possibility to me.

      2. phogan

        Cost of doing something and the pricing of it don't necessarily have any bearing on one another. Apple isn't selling hosting, their selling a license to develop for iOS and access to their user base.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They make an additional charge for the licence to develop for iOS. The 30% cut is on top of that.

    3. Pascal

      Can you imagine just for a minute Apple kicking Office apps out of its store unless Microsoft ponies up 30% of its Office 365 revenues?

      Apple are being bullies to the small guy just because they can.

      1. phogan

        I imagine Microsoft is 15% or less just cause Office is popular. I also doubt most people buy their 365 subscription through iOS, but I am pretty sure Apple takes their cut for those that do.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Try that on the other way around. It still works.

        Can you imagine just for a minute Apple kicking Office apps out of its store? Microsoft won't pony up 30% of its Office 365 revenues and makes enough to hire real lawyers and has an extensive IP portfolio. Apple bullies just about everybody on the app store, but are hesitant to pick a fight with the bigger guys in the room. Or at least fight more that one at a time.

        Seriously though, the app store is a rigged market. Bring on the EU please.

  10. doublelayer Silver badge

    Features of Hey

    "Hey describes itself as a "full email service provider" with a few key features.": Let's look at them.

    "You have to approve senders, who until then are listed in a "first-time senders" section. If rejected, subsequent emails go directly into a spam box.": So I have two sections. Emails from people I know and other ones. And, just like most other clients, there's a button to block the sender. Good to know.

    "You can enable a sender to bypass the quarantine by giving them a code; these can be regenerated to prevent leaked codes causing trouble.": So if I understand this correctly, I'll be talking to someone else who wants to email me. I'll give them my email address, but then I'll also have to say "Wait a minute. My email is paranoid and will block you so I'm going to generate a number on my phone. Please put that number into your email in some place, I'm not really sure, and you'll bypass my system's filters". This is somehow more difficult than just going to see them in the first-time senders box?

    "The inbox is renamed the "Imbox" on the basis that anything that makes it is Important.": Maybe it's just me, but that sounds childish.

    "File attachments that you send are not included with the email, but sent as links to files stored on Basecamp's servers.": So it triggers spam filters that see a link to an unfamiliar server, huh? And it probably tracks people who access my attachments, exactly when or how many times, etc. The attachments don't get autostored on my recipients system like they usually do, so they might try to access it later only to find the server's deleted it. If I want to send them a link, I'll upload my own file somewhere I control, thank you very much.

    "You can rename or merge email threads;": Sounds handy. I assume this is retroactive, not just what I can do during a reply. Maybe a useful feature.

    "and email trackers, which tell the sender when you opened the message, are mostly blocked. "We bulk strip everything that even smells like a spy pixel,": Good job. How does this compare to the don't-load-remote-content feature on mail clients?

    "In addition, all images are routed through the Hey servers so that the recipient's IP address is never revealed.": This is a nice privacy feature. I already have it by not loading the content, plus there are other mailservers which already do that.

    "No automated signatures or footers are allowed." ... "The email already says it's from you. If someone needs your phone number, they can ask,": I'm restricted in what I can put into my own emails? Not that you strip the signatures from incoming emails when I wouldn't want them, but you strip them out of my own emails? Do you understand what user choice is? If I want to have a signature that gives someone alternate methods of contacting me in an emergency, or other people who might be better able to handle their question, I certainly will and getting in my way is ill-advised.

    "The system does not show numbers of unread messages as this is an unnecessary distraction.": Or it's a method of finding out if you have new emails without the notification sound turned on. If you leave any messages unread, a flag will be up, and if you get some new ones, the number is higher. I can see it at a glance.

    "Notifications are off, though you can enable notifications for specific senders or threads.": This is nice. I don't know many mail clients that allow me to tailor my notifications by specific message characteristics. I'd also like it if I could set different sounds or vibrations for that as well. That's a feature worth having.

    "Attachments are filed automatically in an attachment library.": I'm not sure exactly what this means, but if it's just a window to see all attachments, why not.

    "A "Reply later" folder lets you store emails for attention at another time – better than the common technique of marking an email unread, according to Basecamp.": Create any extra folders you want. I can do that too.

    "Another feature is the ability to expand all unread emails in a single action so you can scroll through without opening each one individually.": I don't need that, but I can see why someone might.

    "There is also a technique for managing frequent senders: you can bundle all their messages together so "they'll only take up a single row in your Imbox.": Possibly useful feature.

    This looks like four useful features, five detrimental features, and three neutral features that are already possible. I have a suggestion for you guys. Ditch the server part. That's where most of your detrimental features are. Just implement a mail client program with the features you like, which includes all of the useful ones, and we can look at getting it later. No annual fee, perhaps, but maybe people will agree to buy it. I'd try to be less heavy-handed with your preferences, though.

    1. i1ya
      Pint

      Re: Features of Hey

      Thanks for the write-up! And now at least now I know what did they try to launch...

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Features of Hey

      Great summary

      This can't be aimed at corporates anyway as email signatures footers will be mandatory for disclaimers and other legal requirements.

      "File attachments that you send are not included with the email, but sent as links to files stored on Basecamp's servers.":

      This is also something that you can do with Office 365 for example, where it allows you to send attachments as a link to OneDrive (or SharePoint if corporate) - it's been there for ages.

      O365 is also less than $99/year and implements most of the other features too.

      On price grounds it doesn't stack up either, and if you are that concerned about the privacy side then you'd use ProtonMail as someone else has mentioned.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Features of Hey

      >"File attachments that you send are not included with the email, but sent as links to files stored on Basecamp's servers.": So it triggers spam filters that see a link to an unfamiliar server, huh? And it probably tracks people who access my attachments, exactly when or how many times, etc. The attachments don't get autostored on my recipients system like they usually do, so they might try to access it later only to find the server's deleted it. If I want to send them a link, I'll upload my own file somewhere I control, thank you very much.

      iOS/iPadOS does this today. It means normal users can attach a load of photo's to a message and not worry about whether the resulting message exceeds a widely used SMTP message size limit of 8MB.

      I've implemented third-party add-ons for Outlook over the years to achieve exactly the same result, meaning for example that marketing can throw 300+MB attachments around as they negotiate with graphic designers, printers etc. on copy that will ultimately be printed for display on billboards...

      It's also handy for throwing project documents around, if you haven't downloaded (ie. 'read') my draft within a week then its probably out-of-date and you need to call me to get an uptodate version...

  11. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Another App to save us!

    As part of my job is to find new and interesting apps, I've seen enough mail apps that promise to save us from email. Just keep searching... Nothing checks enough of the boxes to pass muster.

  12. Joe Gurman

    A thneed....

    ....is something that everyone needs.

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Same old, same old...

    It just sounds like email with restrictions. The 'first time senders' folder is just an annoying spam blocker that won't work. You've still got to wade through the thing every time you think you might be getting a mail from a new contact.

    Then their statement "The email already says it's from you. If someone needs your phone number, they can ask," - that's just restrictive. It's not always convenient. Email footers grew out of the need to have them.

    The whole thing might be useful for non-business purposes, but who would pay for a service when there are free messaging apps out there?

  14. Lorribot

    Apples % take on sales is extortionate. Far higher than any retailer. Lets be clear on this, they provide nothing for this fee other than access to their customers which is a closed environment that makes it effectively makes their position monopolistic.

    Unfortunately no laws on monopolies ever considered this situation.

    Google and Apple's stranglehold on the Mobile device markets really needs to be challenged as it is not good for the customers.

    1. Lomax
      Headmaster

      > Apples % take on sales is extortionate. Far higher than any retailer.

      I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. Clothing retail for example can have mark-up as high as 400%. In fact that's probably a very conservative guesstimate. How much do you think Nike pays their slave labour camps suppliers for a pair of plastic shoes which retail at £100? £5? £1?

      The rest of your post is spot on though, so have an upvote!

  15. rcxb Silver badge

    Not very smart

    Apple will not allow the iOS client into its app store unless the maker pays Cupertino "15-30 per cent of our revenue."

    So spin-off a subsidiary which earns very little money and publishes a cheap/free app. The app only happens to be compatible with the more expensive paid service from another company by a similar name, if you change a setting in the app. It works well enough to sheild Apple from paying taxes, so...

    Or maybe offer in-app purchases with a 100% mark-up. People who know better will go to the website and buy the service at a discount. People who have no sense will pay both you and Apple for their cluelessness.

    Hey requires a dedicated app, rather than working with any email client, and users pay a subscription of $99 per year. "That makes our business work without having to sell your data, advertise to you, or otherwise engage in unscrupulous marketing tactics," its makers claim.

    You can find a plain vanilla email service with no advertising and a strong privacy policy for far less than $99. ProtonMail comes to mind, and is less than half the price.

    1. Peter Ford

      Re: Not very smart

      'Or maybe offer in-app purchases with a 100% mark-up. People who know better will go to the website and buy the service at a discount. People who have no sense will pay both you and Apple for their cluelessness.'

      Nope - Apple have that covered: they won't let you charge more for the in-app purchase than it is available for elsewhere, and they're very good at tracking that down.

      I've been here myself - trying to get a subscription-based service into the App store that also has a WWW client and an Android version. The whole pricing structure for our subscriptions is constrained by the requirements Apple set. That 30% is just something you have to include as a cost centre if you're a small business, apparently.

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    $99 per year for a subscription email service with a few filters built in seems a lot to me. So even with them having to give Apple 30% of that, they surely should still be making a profit? If not what exactly are their running costs? My domain registrar offers me unlimited email accounts with my own domain name and 5GB of storage for just £12 per year and I assume they are making at least some profit on that service.

  17. steviebuk Silver badge

    Erm...no

    " File attachments that you send are not included with the email, but sent as links to files stored on Basecamp's servers." Don't want them deciding what to dump or not, it also won't stop scammers.

    At work I've seen legit mailboxes from companies that have had compromised accounts, so they'd be on the allowed list, who then send the infected document in a password protected zip so the likes of Basecamps servers wouldn't be able to scan. The 2nd email they send you the password. Anyone not clued up will fall for it so still get exposed to the scam email.

    That is what their idea won't fix. Is legit, allowed list accounts, being compromised and sending spam.

    And who wants to pay $99 a year for "A new way of doing email". Especially, like others have said, for a company that could, at any moment, go bust before you've had a chance to download all the attachments that were sent to you.

  18. MacroRodent Silver badge

    "Now Apple has altered the deal."

    Apple, wearing a Darth Vader helmet: "I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further."

  19. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Apple Tax

    They should just charge more for Apple if Apple is charging them more. List it as a line item: Software $99, Apple Tax $30

  20. Spanners Silver badge
    Linux

    This reminds me why

    I stopped doing any business with apple years ago.

    Why? Because their business model involved being the ONLY player on the block. If anyone looked like a competitor, they were either sued out of existence or copied and rendered bankrupt.

    "But lots of others do the same!" This was almost the only example of where Apple led the way. The same is done by everyone from Microsoft to Oracle but Apple showed them how. Microsoft developed the trend of buying up and closing down (I think there's a Simpsons episode) but it took the lead from Jobs.

    Good to see a company returning to its roots...

  21. phogan

    I am pretty sure I can filter email by sender already without paying $99 per year.

  22. hairydog

    Top posting the standard? I don't think so. It's just a sign that you're corresponding with a numpty.

    Microsoft's rubbish email clients started this with the reply cursor at the top, but it's not a great choice of email client for so many reasons.

    1. Lomax

      No need to repeat what's already in the thread unless it is pertinent to your message. If I'm replying to specific points in an email (or on a forum) I'll inline my replies with the individual points I'm addressing. If I'm just continuing the general conversation I often Ctrl+A before I start typing. I never bottom post below a massive amount of text where no-one only us greybeards will know to look.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        "If I'm replying to specific points in an emai...

        > If I'm replying to specific points in an email (or on a forum) I'll inline my replies with the individual points I'm addressing.

        Yes, that is how we used to use email in days of yore. But Microsoft email clients make it maddeningly laborious. Even worse, some variants (at least the web one) may actually hide your nicely written mail if you quote material and reply under it, because the client thinks everything under the quote is part of the old thread, and helpfully hides it.

        That is why, after decades of fighting it, I gave up, and started top-posting in work emails.

        Microsoft really broke the classic email system.

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. phogan

      Re: Apple are like modern day

      A bit racist.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple are like modern day

          The optician I go to is Nigerian. He is extremely competent, his work was complimented by the opthalmologist he referred me to, his prices are moderate.

          There's stereotyping and then there's what you are doing, which is unacceptable stereotyping.

        2. Lomax
          Stop

          Re: Apple are like modern day

          Wow. Just wow. If you're looking for a wankstain who has no idea how to behave in a society, find yourself a mirror.

          Flagged for moderation. Twice.

  24. FlamingDeath

    Here is an idea

    Stop developing crApps on mobile platforms, which they will mostly always be, crap

    Just develop the app in the web

    Most of the shit in the appstore could be replaced with a web browser version, easily

    The amount of hounding some of these wankstains do to harass you into downloading their mobile app, is ridiculous, Reddit being a classic example, oh and banking apps

    The question is, why are they so desperate to stop me using the web browser, and instead push me into using their shitcode installed directly onto my device

    1. ThereBePirates
      Pirate

      Re: Here is an idea

      Glad it's not just me that gets annoyed at those app popups.

  25. Lomax
    Facepalm

    But but but but but

    Will you get email notifications for new messages on "Hey"? Will it talk IMAP? Will my (id)IoT systems be able to send and receive messages through the service? Will my Sailfish powered mobile device go "pling" when I get a new message? Can I download my messages for offline access? How many pages of indecipherable terms & conditions will I need to accept to use the service? Will those T&Cs change when the service is bought by Amazon/Microsoft/Google/[insert evil megacorp name]? Will world+cat suddenly find themselves unable to communicate in the unlikely event that when "Hey's" servers can't be reached? Will there be an open and free API for third party developers to use? Can I write my own "Hey" compatible software? Is yet another proprietary centralised comms platform really what the world needs? Do I feel comfortable with storing my nude photos cat pictures on a server I do not control? Will the "Hey" servers be based in a civilised part of the world that has strong privacy legislation or in a corrupt totalitarian banana republic the USA? Will I be able to run my own, private, "Hey" server? Does it handle CalDAV/CardDAV sync and storage? Is it possible to "improve" something without replacing it? Is backwards compatibility an important principle or just an obsoleted ideal from yesteryear?

    Have we learned nothing?

    P.S.

    > Ruby on Rails inventor David Heinemeier Hansson

    He may have invented Rails, but he sure as hell didn't invent Ruby!

    > Hansson co-wrote Agile Web Development with Rails

    I think I found the problem.

  26. TeeCee Gold badge
    Holmes

    Hansson claims Apple's App Store practices are "capricious, exploitive, and inconsistent."

    ...and the sun came up this morning as well. All we need is evidence of bears crapping in the woods to complete the set.

  27. Jason Hindle

    It does sound monopolistic

    Demanding a cut if you're using Apple's subscription infrastructure is one thing. Demanding a cut if you handle subscriptions via your website (without breaking any rules regarding accessing the website from the app) is altogether different. Also, I can subscribe to Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud, via the web, and then us their premium apps (and premium features of otherwise free apps) obtained from Apple's app store. Does Adobe give a wad of cash to Apple for this? I doubt it. I don't think Google does this. Besides, I have more than one app store on my Google Phone. An iOS user has just the one app store to choose from.

  28. viscount

    Logic?

    The key element for me is this quote from Apple.

    "We are not going to talk about other apps."

    Obviously you can use Office365 etc. on Apple and they do not make you buy it via them, whether consumer or corporate. So why lock out Hey like this? What distinction are they actually trying to make?

  29. roctastic

    They have nothing new here. The only novelty is a poor 'permission' based scheme for separating out senders. Remarkably similar to an emailing scheme, IMO, a far better scheme that I mused about more than 10 years ago. I doubt I was the first to have such ideas either - step forward PGP-enabled email and mailbox rules.

  30. rmstock

    I'm with Apple in this case

    "The inbox is renamed the "Imbox" on the basis that anything that makes it is "Im"portant. File attachments that you send are not included with the email, but sent as links to files stored on Basecamp's servers." This is the fight for who gets hands on clients email and data. If you buy a Apple you expect Apple to be that company, if such things cannot be circumvented. But now out of the blue "Basecamp's servers" throw a wrench in the Apple clutch. Apple wins, Basecamp looses.

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